Well here we are near the beginning of Lent, and today my mind is on movies. Movies or TV programs are typical sacrifices that some folks make during Lent.

Let me start this column asking if you’ve ever thought of a list of your own favorite movies? Would you have any trouble coming up with a list of five or ten favorites? My list wouldn’t be very high-level or critically-acclaimed movies. I think of Mac and Kathryn from the Catholic in a Small Town Podcast. What knowledge they seem to have of movies and how adept they are at review and context of the movies they see.

Not so for me… I just know what I like. Most often, it’s a movie that moves my heart. Well – once in awhile, swashbuckling and mysteries are great too! One of my all time favorite movies is Fiddler on the Roof. Also on my list would be On Golden Pond. Sometime, I’d like to share with you the story of traveling to the northeast and searching until I found the cabin where they filmed that movie.

Another favorite is called Places in the Heart. It was a 1930’s depression era film starring Sally Field as Edna Spalding. Her husband is killed and Sally and daughter Possum (Gennie James) take over a debt-ridden rural Texas farm. Sally is resentful that her husband was killed by a black person but she is aided on the farm by African American actor Danny Glover. John Malkovich played a blind man – also helping Sally try to save the farm.

I don’t know if the author would agree with my take on the title – my feeling about the movie’s title is to convey that there are tender places in the heart… places of singular joy… places where special memories are held… places of angst and unique sorrow that only the heart’s owner will know.

Do you have Places in the Heart in your life? What would be in there for you? That moment the two of you stood before a priest or minister and you felt such profound tenderness as you released a surrender of love and hope: "I Lisa… take you Greg to be my husband… in sickness and in health… in good times and in bad…." How about when they lifted your first child in the delivery room and showed him/her to you?

All but the most hardened have such places in the heart if we but think of them. I remember tender moments with our young family. And now as I age, I appreciate them all the more. And after all our years of marriage – some of my new places in the heart are found as I give thanks for the lifetime my wife and I have been together and for what we’ve done as a team. I could never have had this life with anyone other than Dee.

Where this is leading is that there is also a special place in our heart – a sacred place that holds God’s love. This sacred place holds our holy longing – a longing that only He can fill. For many, busyness and day-to-day masks the entrance to that place. Lent is an awesome time to seek and to connect with – to open the Sacred Secret Places in the Heart.

A fellow who visited my Deacon Tom website sent some information about Benedictine nuns back in the Midwest. I went to their site and found words about creating a Sacred Space in your life – most likely in your home (although it doesn’t have to be).

I think this idea of a Sacred Space can be important and helpful during Lent. It can be a way to help enter into the Secret Place in your Heart where God will speak to you.

In a busy, busy home – creating a Sacred Space may be a tall order. Here is what the nuns suggest:

  • The space provides a prayerful atmosphere in which you can pray undisturbed.
  • Choose a comfortable seat that will help you remain alert and focused.
  • Choose spiritual tools for your space-the Bible or other sacred reading, images of God, candles, plants, water fountains, quiet music.
  • Create a space free of distractions.

If these ideas are impossible in your home setting – remember that Jesus is always present in the tabernacle at your local Church. If that can’t work, go someplace (safe) in the car. Consider using your CD player with quiet music and perhaps a view of something that inspires you. Sink into quiet… into peace… recite the name of Jesus.

Perhaps there will be moments when He will overwhelm you, bathing you with His love and you will ‘breathe under water’ so to speak. Perhaps He will help you become tender and you will weep with tears of joy. He might bring song to your heart and you will feel you are joining the ‘heavenly choir’ in praise and worship.

Or, He may ask you about certain parts of your life and invite you to look at them (with Him) during this Lenten journey.

So what is the point of this month’s column? Rather than giving up things – would you consider finding something inside of you? Seek the Sacred Places in Your Heart.

Lenten blessings and love.
Deacon Tom

Ps: If you happen to read this column in time – I’m participating in a new blog for lent. Please drop by and check in with the authors hoping to help you on your Lenten journey. It’s found at http://thesefortydays.blogspot.com/

Copyright 2009 Deacon Tom Fox