Pope Francis on Lent: “Lent invites us to focus, first of all on the Almighty, in prayer, which frees us from that horizontal and mundane life where we find time for self but forget God. It then invites us to focus on others, with the charity that frees us from the vanity of acquiring and thinking that things are only good if they are good for me. Finally, Lent invites us to look inside our heart, with fasting, which frees us from attachment to things and from the worldliness that numbs the heart. Prayer, charity, fasting: three investments for a treasure that endures.” Pope Francis tells us that Lent is a powerful season, a learning point which fosters change and conversion. May our Lent be a journey that brings the hope of Christ to all of creation.
In one of her Easter letters Catherine McAuley wrote: “Pray for your portion of the Easter Grace … do not give up until all is given you.” Catherine often encouraged her Sisters to bear their portion of Christ’s Cross. Now she prays for the life that is gained through the bearing of that Cross. As Sisters of Mercy, our Mercy charism demands of us a response. As we prepare to celebrate Easter and pray for our portion of the Easter Grace, let us stand beside our sisters and brothers in need as we share our spiritual and material goods with them. Easter is the change that changed everything for us who proclaim, “Jesus Christ is Risen.”
We live in a world and in a time of rapid change. “In the blink of an eye” our lives change. It could be a phone call, a text, a medical diagnosis, news about a loved one. Change is the one constant in life. May our Lent this year be a journey … bringing the hope of Christ to those who are uprooted from their homeland and unable to find a stable home anywhere; those whose hearts are broken with pain by the senseless deaths caused by gun and knife violence; women, men and children who are treated poorly, oppressed, trafficked, discriminated against; the grief and loss of life of the victims of the shooting of the worshippers in Christchurch NZ; the loss of life and homes in the recent Mozambique Cyclone Idai; racial prejudice and it goes on and on and life is never the same. Easter is the change that changes everything. Our Lenten preparation may have changed our hearts to see more clearly that from death comes new life – nothing dies, everything is transformed. (Music: “All are Welcome” by Marty Haugen)
Merciful God, look upon us as we continue these Lenten days bearing the mark of the ashes; be with us as we journey through this spiritual springtime. May our fasting, almsgiving and prayer enable us to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with you, our God. This we pray in this season of mercy. Guide us to perform simple acts of love and prayer. Mother of Christ, Mother of Mercy, help us not to waste these precious Lenten days of our soul’s spiritual Springtime. Amen