Live + Jesus!
Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, falls on March 5 this year. Lived well, Lent can convert our hearts and transform our lives. We invite you to join us on a Salesian Lenten journey of conversion.
The whole point of this season of grace is to ready us for the miracle of Easter. Self-examination, repentance and reconciliation are rarely painless, but they are wholesome ways to measure our spiritual health. So as we start this year’s Lenten journey a few simple questions and answers might help us on our way:
Is forgiveness a two- way street?
Jesus forgave his murderers even as they mocked him while he hung on the Cross. What a beautiful gift to us was his free gift of forgiveness with no strings attached. We must pray for this same gift of unlimited forgiveness to those who might have hurt us.
Reconciliation is the work of God. Seeking reconciliation is our work. We need to do whatever we can to make peace with others, and then leave the rest in the hands of God.
Forgiveness is closely aligned with justice and is clearly an act of freedom. Perhaps its greatest gift is that it frees us from our wounded self – centeredness and also offers others opportunities for forgiveness.
God’s plan is that we achieve justice through the practice of mercy. Mercy changes both the giver and the receiver, it softens the hardened heart . That’s why Scripture so often likens mercy to water in a desert, it brings new life. It encourages conversion and love, which breed acts of justice, which build peace. Our Holy Father Pope Francis has chosen a spirit of mercy as the basic mark of his pontificate and his actions on behalf of others.
Isn’t Easter the season of new life?
We owe ourselves exactly the same mercy we offer to others. Lent is the time when we learn the language of repentance and forgiveness by disciplining our mind, our spirit and
our appetites, so that nothing prevents us from hearing God’s voice and seeking him out. The joy in Lent comes from our Confidence in the resurrection of a Savior who will deliver us from sin and restore us to new life.
In the silence of our own hearts, we know we hunger for something greater than ourselves and our self-interests. We seek a tangible sense of God’s presence in our hearts. All things are made new in the victory of Jesus Christ – even sinners like you and me. The blood and water that flowed from the Heart of Jesus on the Cross washes away our sins. It purifies us so we may become vessels of God’s life-giving grace. The Resurrection fills our minds and hearts with God’s own life.
Lent, therefore, is an opportunity and a grace, not a burden. May we use the weeks of Lent this year to ready our hearts so we can receive Jesus Christ this Easter with incredible joy and carry this joy to others as we share the wonders of Jesus’ abiding love. A blessed and grace filled Lent to each of you !
“Plant in your heart Jesus Christ Crucified and all the crosses of this world will seem like roses to you. ” St. Francis de Sales
GOD BE PRAISED !