Start by doing what is necessary; then do what is possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
This past Wednesday we celebrated Ash Wednesday, which begins the 6 weeks of Lent, a time for fasting, conversion, prayer and selfless works of mercy, as we await the Easter Triduum. This year, His Holiness Pope Francis has a message for all of us regarding Lent, as a time for fasting, prayer and selfless works of mercy, explaining; “Fasting, is learning to change our attitude towards others and all of creation, and to turn away from the temptation to “devour” everything, to satisfy our voracity and be ready to suffer for love, which can fill the emptiness of our hearts.
Prayer teaches us to abandon idolatry and the self-sufficiency of our ego, and to acknowledge our need of the Lord and his mercy. Almsgiving, whereby we escape from the insanity of hoarding everything for ourselves in the illusory belief that we can secure a future that does not belong to us. And then to rediscover the joy of God’s plan for creation and for each of us, which is to love him, our brothers and sisters and the entire world, and to find in this love our true happiness.”
After reading this many of you may be asking; Where should I begin? Or, what can I do? St. Francis of Assisi once said, “Start by doing what is necessary; then do what is possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
What would you consider impossible to practice this Lent? What is it that would most challenge you; your sense of honor, of security, busy schedule, daily routine or wallet? Many of us sacrifice by giving up candy, gum, and alcohol, but at the same time hold grudges or resentments towards others.
The Pope wants this year to be lived more authentically in order to celebrate and experience God’s mercy and love. Mercy expresses God’s way of reaching out to the sinner, offering him a new chance to look at himself, convert, and believe. Admitting that we are sinners is the key to Lent, because we are preparing for the great celebration of how God saved sinners; our true joy and that is transforming.
We are changed when our hardened hearts crack open, when we deny ourselves to be masters of our lives and choose to follow Jesus more closely. We are better able to ask for mercy and to extend mercy to others, even the most impossible to forgive or the most difficult to serve. If you have doubts, remember the words of Jesus when he said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
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