Integrating Mercy into our Lenten Practice


Lent posterWe invite you to join the Sisters of our Province in deepening our awareness of the role of MERCY in our lives by spending a little bit of time during Lent focusing on the positive impact of mercy on the lives of all who integrate, practice and receive it as the divine gift it truly is. Sister Marian St. Marie (marianst.marie@gmail.com) offers us the following reflection and would welcome your comments and insights.

February has arrived. With it we have the observance of Ash Wednesday and beginning of  Lent on February 10th. The Lenten season traditionally provides us with the opportunity to take a closer look at ourselves and to make amends for our imperfect behavior and actions. We have the opportunity for cleansing ourselves and making a new start. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.”  (Psalm 51: 10)

mercy & graceWe are also now in the Jubilee Year of Mercy which began on December 8, 2015 and will continue until November 20, 2016. In proclaiming this year, Pope Francis proposes that Lent is the ideal time to put a special focus on the virtue of Mercy. “I ask that ‘the season of Lent in this Jubilee Year be lived more intensely as a privileged moment to celebrate and experience God’s mercy’.”

One way to examine God’s loving mercy is to go back to the beginning of time as seen in the Bible. In reading through the Bible one sees numerous incidents in which God shows great loving mercy to his people. The very act of sending his only Son to become human, to suffer and die for us is the ultimate act of divine mercy. Throughout his earthly ministry Jesus dispensed loving mercy to those who were in need. 

lentAnd we, being the recipients of this great loving gift of mercy, now need to let God’s mercy radiate through us to others. But how do we do this? Matthew tells us how in his gospel; we are to practice the corporal works of mercy. “For I was hungry and you gave me food;  I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you made me welcome; naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me; in prison and you came to see me.” (Matthew 25: 35-37) In addition there are the spiritual works of mercy: counsel the doubtful; instruct the ignorant; admonish sinners; comfort the afflicted; forgive offenses; bear patiently those who do us ill; and pray for the living and the dead. 

A good Lenten practice would be to peruse the Bible to find examples of God’s loving mercy. Then examine yourself in the light of the following:

  • How have I experienced the Father’s mercy in my own life?
  • How might Jesus be calling me to look directly into the eyes of those who are denied their dignity?
  • Which spiritual works of mercy might Christ be calling me to practice?
  • Which corporal works of mercy might I be called to practice?

 May our reflection lead us all to greater mercy and grace!

 
 

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