Pope Francis has asked us to live Lent more intensely this year, the Jubilee Year of Mercy. How can we do that?
According to the Holy Father, two things in particular can help us experience and celebrate God’s Mercy first hand: (1) prayerful listening to God’s word, repeating his word until we make it our own; and (2) practicing the works of mercy.
I’m trying to do both of those things, and invite you to do one or the other with me:
1. Prayerfully listen to God’s word
Some of you have already meditated with me on the Penitential Psalms, in previous years. Now I’ve put those reflections into a Lenten Journal: a form that I hope will be a help to those who want to spend a week of Lent meditating on each one, allowing the Spirit to write the word on their hearts. It provides a meditation on each psalm and a step-by-step guide, based on lectio divina, that assists daily reflection and ever-deepening prayer.
Create in Me a Clean Heart: Ten Minutes A Day in the Penitential Psalms is available on Amazon in paperback—complete with space to journal in—and Kindle versions. I would be grateful, if you find it helpful, if you would post a review on that site.
The group Women in the New Evangelization (WINE) is using this journal as their “Lenten Offering”—the basis of their Lenten Book Club this year. To join them (and me, as I send weekly messages and walk alongside them in the process), visit their website.
2. Practicing the works of mercy
I’ll be reflecting on the spiritual and corporal works of mercy in my usual blog throughout Lent and providing related Scripture passages to think and pray about and put into practice. St. Augustine called fasting and almsgiving (and by extension, corporal works of mercy) “the two wings of prayer” on which it rises to heaven. Let’s strengthen our wings this Lent!
“Let us not waste this season of Lent, so favorable a time for conversion!” —Pope Francis, Message for Lent, 1/26/16
©2016 Sarah Christmyer