In the seemingly blink of an eye, the season of Lent has arrived. It never fails that inasmuch as Lent is a season of preparation, it is a struggle to even prepare for Lent. This shouldn't be a cause for disappointment or self-criticism, but we shouldn't be afraid to look deep into ourselves either, for it is there that we find the source of renewal: "truth is the bread of the soul" (Bishop Jacques-Benigne Bossuet). The heart is undeniably hungry for mercy.
"February 10, 2016, might just be the beginning of a new chapter in our life, or that new chapter might be in the life of someone else whom we meet today. As we receive ashes at the beginning of this Lenten Season we are marked with a cross to remind us of the reality of sin, and the cost of that sin" ("The Jubilee of Mercy: Ash Wednesday's Witness", Father James Sullivan, February Magnificat).
Our everyday experience of human sin - the injustices received and the charity absent in ALL of our interactions - create this insatiable desire for mercy. We would rather live without sin than with sin, and the works of mercy are the only way to overcome and expel this interior dissatisfaction.
It is customary that households and families take up penances together during Lent to renew the human heart by detaching from worldly affections, and thereby focus more intently on the reality of grace.
This Lent, we are adopting a school-wide penance. We are going to practice the spiritual works of mercy. But don't be alarmed or intimidated; we can't escape opportunities to practice these because we live in such close proximity to each other. So why bother you might ask? To the extent that we intend to impart mercy, mercy will be given; if we can re-direct these everyday works of mercy to the good of the other and the glory of God, then we can renew our ordinary experiences and thereby fend off the reality of sin.
Alas, here are the spiritual works of mercy. Again, these are excellent opportunities to manifest the limitless mercy of God (which means we can never stop doing them!):
- Counseling the doubtful
- Instructing the ignorant
- Admonishing the sinner
- Comforting the sorrowful
- Forgiving injuries
- Bearing wrongs patiently
- Praying for the living and the dead
At the end of Lent, we encounter the truth of mercy. It is my prayer that we will continue to instruct and form children in the way of mercy, so they can find true fulfillment in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Yours Truly In Christ,