Bishop Javier Echevarría, in his February letter, writes about the blessings that God gives us with His mercy, especially during Lent, this great season of interior conversion and returning to the Lord’s embrace:
‘The invitation to a deep change is especially timely in the Year of Mercy, a special time of grace for all mankind. What trust and security it gives us to know that “God is always ready to give us his grace, and especially in these times; the grace for a new conversion, for rising higher on the supernatural plane: a greater self-giving, an advance in perfection, becoming more on fire.”’
In three short days we begin our Lenten journey. This time of Lent, if we use it wisely, is a time of challenges.
- We are challenged to look within us in an ever deeper and more honest way. This can be threatening. We can be put off by the fear of seeing something that we have tried very hard to keep hidden, even from ourselves.
- We are challenged by trying to give up something, at least for this Lenten season, to offer it to our Lord in love and thanksgiving for what He means to us. This can be very uncomforting and trying.
- We are challenged by inadequacy, of the thought that we can never live up to what our Lord did for us. Our thoughts can veer towards whether our Lenten practices, even if done well, are enough to bring us closer to the love that God offers us?
But let’s go back to Bishop Echevarriá’s message; God is a God of mercy and because of that we can meet these challenges with the knowledge that He is embracing us in our struggles and He is helping us with them. He desires us to overcome these challenges and His desire is stronger than any doubt we have about our abilities. ‘Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again; for forgiveness has risen from the grave.’ St. John Chrysostom wrote.
Brothers and sisters, let’s take the lessons of this Year of Mercy and use them to enter our Lenten journey with the will to dive deeper within ourselves, look more intensely at our heart and mind, and come to a clearer understanding of who we are – beloved of Christ. Lets always remember that God is there to pick us up every time.