There are many things we can give up for Lent, but it is also wise sometimes to add something good as a Lenten resolution. An act of charity usually makes my list somewhere. This year the Lord is fine tuning my concept of virtue and charity particularly. The greatest virtue is (fill in the blank)….I always thought I knew the answer, but recently Pope Francis has given additional insight. The most perfect form of love is mercy. And oh, isn’t Our Father good at that. I think he would like to see a little more of it reflected in me. We I do need to work on remediation of the parts of me that are out of order, but an act of charity, better yet and act of mercy, can send us forward in goodness
May we truly grow in love and mercy. As I looked at my list of things I’m thinking about doing for Lent this week. I asked myself, which of these will make a difference for eternity. Love never fails, neither will mercy.
I’ll close with three quotes from Pope Francis on mercy and one of my favorite works of prose for Lent and Ash Wednesday.
I think we too are the people who, on the one hand, want to listen to Jesus, but on the other hand, at times, like to find a stick to beat others with, to condemn others. And Jesus has this message for us: mercy. I think — and I say it with humility — that this is the Lord’s most powerful message: mercy. — Homily on March 17, 2013
It is not easy to entrust oneself to God’s mercy, because it is an abyss beyond our comprehension. But we must! … “Oh, I am a great sinner!” “All the better! Go to Jesus: He likes you to tell him these things!” He forgets, He has a very special capacity for forgetting. He forgets, He kisses you, He embraces you and He simply says to you: “Neither do I condemn you; go, and sin no more” (Jn 8:11). — Homily on March 17, 2013
In the past few days I have been reading a book by a Cardinal … Cardinal Kasper said that feeling mercy, that this word changes everything. This is the best thing we can feel: it changes the world. A little mercy makes the world less cold and more just. We need to understand properly this mercy of God, this merciful Father who is so patient. … Let us remember the Prophet Isaiah who says that even if our sins were scarlet, God’s love would make them white as snow. This mercy is beautiful. — Angelus on March 17, 2013
FASTING AND FEASTING
Fast from judging others; feast on Christ dwelling within them.
Fast from emphasis on differences; feast on the unity of all life.
Fast from apparent darkness; feast on the reality of light.
Fast from thoughts of illness; feast on the healing power of God.
Fast from words that pollute; feast on words that purify.
Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude.
Fast from anger; feast on patience.
Fast from pessimism; feast on optimism.
Fast from worry; feast on divine order.
Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation.
Fast from negatives; feast on affirmatives.
Fast from unrelenting pressures; feast on unceasing prayer.
Fast from hostility; feast on non-resistance.
Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others.
Fast from personal anxiety; feast on eternal truth.
Fast from discouragement; feast on hope.
Fast from facts that depress; feast on verities that uplift.
Fast from lethargy; feast on enthusiasm.
Fast from suspicion; feast on truth.
(Fast from worry about yesterday, feast on the good you can do now.)
Fast from thoughts that weaken; feast on promises that inspire.
Fast from the shadows of sorrow; feast on the sunlight of serenity.
Fast from idle gossip; feast on purposeful silence.
Fast from problems that overwhelm; feast on prayer that undergirds.
~William Ward (+ anonymous addition)
Blessed Lent to you all!
Sister Mary Michael
St. Peter Principal