The greatest tragedy of life is not how much we suffer, but how much we miss. Humans are born asleep, live asleep and die asleep. This is what spirituality is about: waking up. Anthony de Mello
You might remember the “Ice Bucket Challenge”, a fund- raising phenomenon that went viral last year. It certainly was novel and captured the imagination of the ‘nation’, at least a certain section of the population. I’ve no doubt that the challenge raised much needed funds for charity and credit to those who raised funds but I couldn’t help but believe, that in the case of many of the participants, it was more about self- promotion and the number of ‘LIKES’ garnered on Facebook and other social media platforms. You don’t need to fetch a bucket, fill it with ice and dump it on your head to help others. Thank God you might say! It’s certainly one way of waking up but is it a spiritual awakening?
Lent is a time of awakening, a call to live life more fully. To be fully awake, fully alive is to be present to ourselves and present to the needs of others. Lent gives us the opportunity for reflection and this helps us awaken the fortitude that challenges us to respond to the needs of others.
In his message for Lent 2016, which began on 11 February, Pope Francis has asked us to live Lent more intensely as a privileged moment to celebrate and experience God’s mercy. He said:
God’s mercy transforms human hearts; it enables us, through the experience of a faithful love, to become merciful in turn. In an ever new miracle, divine mercy shines forth in our lives, inspiring each of us to love our neighbour and to devote ourselves to what the Church’s tradition calls the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. These works remind us that faith finds expression in concrete everyday actions meant to help our neighbours in body and spirit: by feeding, visiting, comforting and instructing them.
Let the challenge for Lent be to:
Use your voice for kindness, your ears for compassion, your hands for charity, your mind for truth and your heart for love.
Today Lord, I choose life, I choose your love and the challenge to live it and share it, I choose hope, even in moments of darkness, I choose faith, accepting you as Lord and God, I choose to let go of some part of my burdens, day by day handing them over to you, I choose to take hold of your strength and power ever more deeply in my life May this truly be for me a time of new life, of change, challenge and growth May I come to Easter with a heart open to dying with you and rising to your new life, day by day.
More reflections for Lent can be found on http://www.christianbrothervocation.org