“My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:2).
Lent is a solemn time for reflection. In these six weeks, we find an inescapable reality of suffering in the Crucifixion of Christ. The idea that suffering can be redemptive is unacceptable in our culture, but no one is exempt from trials in life. Our upbringing and social values influence the way we handle suffering. We mask emotional and physical pain when it becomes personal, and we often fail in knowing how to ease the misery of others.
I read this in the Liturgy of the Hours: “The Lord created me in His works, and the Wisdom of God is placed in me!” How different life’s challenges would seem if we woke up in the morning and understood these words! We will experience times of excruciating darkness and even agony, and we will wonder, “Where is God?” I am sure the Blessed Mother felt despair at the foot of the cross. She didn’t give in to the darkness. Her heart was broken; still, she clung to the light of faith in God. In the midst of our own trials, we can find this same peace with trust in God the Father.
When I was growing up, it was very rare to know a child suffering from terminal illness; it was uncommon for families to be separated by divorce; and fear of violence was not the daily concern of a child. Technology did not dictate the connections in my life or the process of my education. These statements may be true because I grew up in a small Midwest community in the 60s and 70s. Maybe I was sheltered from reality when I was growing up, but the issues I was able to avoid as a child are now the norm for children in every city in America today.
There are some societal changes that are respectable, but other transformations are offenses to God. We have a responsibility to pray for the conversion of hearts in making our world a better place. What are we missing when communicating values and choices to our children and grandchildren? The children are not to blame for our social differences and problems. I believe the kids I grew up with, who are now the adults, have undervalued God’s plan for life and family. Priorities change when daily thoughts about life are void of God. Where did the disconnection about the importance of faith come from, and how can we make a difference for future generations?
Lent is a time to focus on the mercy of God! The conversion of hearts will strengthen the Church that spiritually nourished us as children and prepared us for days like these! Gratitude for this gift of faith is essential to the health of our society. Our religious freedoms are in danger, and respecting life is diminished with an attitude of moral relativism. When all points of view are equally valid, and truth is whatever we want it to be; confusion about right and wrong exists.
A Christian believes that Jesus is the Savior of the world and that His teachings about life are absolute truth. The fundamental meaning of life is to love as Jesus taught us and help one another get to heaven. The fear of the Lord is to hate evil! We fail to love if we are not honest about sin that offends God. You cannot share what you do not have, so make sure you understand Truth in the teachings of Christ.
Our greatest challenge as believers is to love someone enough to share Truth. Pain and suffering may be diverted by our honesty in this life and the next. All things are possible with God, the maker of heaven and earth! Amen!