Easter, with its grace of interior resurrection, is the radical healing of the human condition.

Lent, which prepares us for this grace, is about what needs to be healed, [forgiven and celebrated].
— Thomas Keating, The Mystery of Christ




Once there was a young girl who walked past a storefront on her way home from school every day.  Behind the thick glass was displayed a string of faux pearls that  hung over a necklace tree and they beckoned her heart like nothing else.  Every day she passed the window added to her piling wishes to own the pearls.  Though she schemed every possibility, there would be no way for her to afford to buy the pearls herself with the nine quarters she had saved for well over an eternity.  The necklace would take twenty.   It would be several months when she would receive enough birthday money to purchase the necklace…. at least she hoped.

So she had to wait, and hope.

As the day of her 8th birthday approached she noticed that a card had been slipped under her breakfast plate .  With her heart racing and her eyes wide open,  she opened the heavy card.  In it were eight quarters from her Me-maw; one for every year.  Ecstatic, she did her math and to her sadness, wondered how in the world she would get the last three quarters to purchase the necklace.  Her only hope was to pull on the heartstrings of her Papa.  Her tugging of his heart led to the dispensing of three quarters and a drive to the store.  There she bought the pearl necklace and with a face that could light a black forest, she opened the box to show her Papa her long awaited treasure.

Then her Papa asked the unthinkable.   He asked her if she trusted his love for her.  She replied “of course”.  He then asked her to give him the string of pearls.  She could not believe her ears.  This would take some time but in the end she opened her pearl-filled palm with the look of shock and grave disappointment.

Then her Papa did the unthinkable.  He laid in her hands, a string of real pearls.    


Lent is about letting go of our faux selves~ in order for God to resurrect the true self.

Lent is not about sacrificial offerings that feel punitive~ but about giving God our intention to by found.     

Lent is about the human heart becoming fully alive ~(Irenaeus). 

Lent is about God leading us to the desert ~ one of the few places where we can experience his love (Hosea 2:16)

Lent is the journey that opens us to the interior silence ~ the desert of one’s own heart.

Lent is the paschal mystery ~ that leads to resurrection. 

Indeed, this is our pearl of great price. 


Today marks the first day of Lent.  Might you consider one intention to lay down in the palm of God’s loving hand?   Join us.  We are journeying with you.  

Picture found here.  

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Val Dodge Head

Val Dodge Head, M.A., lives in Grand Rapids, MI, and serves on the CenterQuest staff as the communications coordinator and a variety of other roles. As a spiritual director and teacher, she loves to build bridges between the good and bad and to envelop herself in various forms of contemplation, all of which have helped her see God in all things good, true, and beautiful wherever and in whomever it leads.

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