The below Lenten reflection was written by Sr. Margaret Moran, a Daughter of St. Paul based in Toronto.
The Season of Lent is moving ahead and for some of us it may feel it is going too fast and for others, way too slow. Or, we might be finding those small “sacrifices” we placed on ourselves now feel a bit heavy. We might even feel like we have failed to live up to the resolutions we promised to keep.
But don’t let this discourage you! Our God is gentle and merciful, He sees our goodwill, our efforts, the challenges that face us. And each day, He gives us another chance to begin again. We don’t want to fix our gaze only on ourselves or on what has not been done, but instead, let us renew our resolve and hand over to the Lord once again those renunciations that we laid out at the beginning of Lent. If these feel extra heavy, don’t panic. God understands our weakness and works with it. Whew… what a relief!
Let’s start again, maybe this time just setting aside 10 or 15 minutes of our day for prayer. How much the world is in need of prayer. Maybe taking a few moments to pray for and think of those persons who are suffering due to the war in the Ukraine, or other parts of the world, will offer us the space to draw closer to God and our brothers and sisters. Isn’t this what Pope Francis has been asking of us? His Lenten message for 2022 is a call to not lose heart or ever get tired of doing good or of praying for and helping our neighbours. When we move out of ourselves and think of others, we find that our prayer is more intense and real. Yes, real, because we are thinking of concrete situations that affect not only the world but each one of us as we are stewards of this world. And in that way we must reach out, in whatever way we can, to promote peace, unity and love.
Let us pray with faith! May this Lent be a time to deepen our faith and put it into practice. We can transform that small renunciation into something that is meaningful. Let’s not look at it as a deprivation of something we like or enjoy, but embrace this sacrifice as a gift. Think of it as a loving reminder of all the great things God has placed in our lives that we can now hand over to others so they in turn can enjoy the benefits of our sacrifices, which God alone sees and blesses in His own way. Look beyond ourselves this Lent, feel the needs of all humanity. Who knows, the people most in need of prayer, support, strength may be given this gift because of our sacrifices and prayers. Only in heaven will we know the fruits of all our good works.
To deepen this prayer time, we may want something to read, listen to or meditate upon. If our prayer feels empty or without fervor, we can read a passage from the passion of Jesus in the Bible or take in hand a good book that will prepare us for Holy Week and the great feast of Easter. When we nourish our mind, we nourish our entire person: our thoughts, our desires, our sentiments. And in this way, we can walk this Lenten journey with Christ in a spirit of gratitude. Thankful for His love which knew no limits to what He suffered for each one of us. Jesus had His gaze fixed on us and our needs. Make sure that this Lent our gaze is fixed on the needs of others, and then our sacrifices too will bear much fruit.
If you would like to dive into some great reading for Lent, I encourage you to visit our Pauline Books and Media Centre at 3022 Dufferin Street in Toronto or browse our webstore at www.paulinestore.ca. God bless you!