When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
I like to think of Lent as a silent retreat that we all make together. We double-down our efforts to focus on God’s mercy and love for us. We celebrate the Eucharist, paying special attention to Christ’s passion, death and resurrection. We generally “give up” something, or commit to doing something differently, as our own sacrifice.
Whom do we tell what we’re giving up or what we’re doing? Why? Is God’s knowledge of our sacrifice not enough? This Lent, let’s commit to prayer, almsgiving and fasting in secret—in silence. And when we struggle, let’s turn to him for help. Make this retreat into your “inner room,” where God and God alone knows you best.
—Connor Walters is a communications coordinator at Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland. He also coaches rowing and co-moderates the school’s Saint Benedict Joseph Labre Ministry to the Homeless.
“The most important thing in the life of every man and every woman is not that they should never fall along the way. The important thing is always to get back up, not to stay on the ground licking your wounds. The Lord of mercy always forgives me; he always offers me the possibility of starting over. He loves me for what I am, he wants to raise me up, and he extends his hand to me. This is one of the tasks of the Church: to help people perceive that there are no situations that they cannot get out of. For as long as we are alive it is always possible to start over, all we have to do is let Jesus embrace us and forgive us.”
—Pope Francis, The Name of God Is Mercy