I woke up this morning not feeling well, but at the last-minute decided to make the trip to church for Ash Wednesday. The snow was still falling and everything inside was saying “STAY HOME”, but out of obedience, to church I went. I was determined to dig deeper this Lent.
Lent is a time where we model Jesus’ 40 days in the desert; stripping ourselves of our worldly attachments to allow that still small voice of the Holy Spirit to penetrate the noise of life. For 40 days, we are called to resist temptation (perhaps something we’ve given up that we usually enjoy, to help others (to put ourselves second………always), to devote more time to prayer (to actually show up – put God first) – all of this requires a lot of effort. For me it is a mental, physical AND spiritual effort.
My Lenten meditation this morning said – Your life is not about you. It’s about God’s purpose for you. I suppose that’s where the struggles usually trip us up. If we don’t show up and attend to what God has placed before us, in the way of helping others or feeling the pull of temptation, then we miss those God moments in life. Those opportunities God provides for us to grow. I suppose this is His way of teaching us to say “yes” to those things that help us become a better person and “no” to what doesn’t. I focused on that thought as Mass began and prayed for direction. The message I heard, loud and clear, was to understand the true meaning of mercy.
Pope Francis has declared this a Year of Mercy. That’s nice! But what does that really mean in my life? We were challenged to think of people or situations that we have given up on, aggravate us, have found fault with, have hurt us………and extend a hand of mercy to them. Reach out of our comfort zone and see where God is taking us. Yes, this will require a lot of effort, a lot of patience, and a lot of prayer.
For me learning “Mercy” will begin with…
Forgive us our trespasses, AS WE forgive those who trespass against us.