Lent: Making All Things New

A Reflection for Ash Wednesday

By Bernadette A. Sahm

 

“Ash Wednesday is full of joy … The source of all sorrow is the illusion that of ourselves we are anything but dust.”
-Father Thomas Merton

It is that time of year when we anticipate more sunshine and the beauty, color, and newness that the spring season affords us. As I walk through my garden, I notice things that are dormant after months of winter weather. My hydrangeas seem to be dead and brittle and without life. My faith knows better. Looking closely, I see the burrowed closed ends of what I believe will return as hot pink and baby blue flowering hydrangeas.

“Lent comes providentially to awaken us, to shake us from our lethargy.” –Pope Francis

Lent and spring are synonymous for me as they both represent the opportunity to make all things new again. We know what a garden can be with proper nurturing. and what it will look like after it receives water, sunshine, and food to grow. Lent affords us the opportunity to reflect on all our relationships and to grow them with love and in faith. God wants us to see His face in all living things.

We begin again in Lent; we witness signs of new life, and we too can create that new life when our hearts open and are birthed again. Even a heart that has been dormant can spring back to life.

There is nothing like the beauty in a flowering rose, yet it shows us; “non c’e rosa senza le sue spine’” (translation – there is no rose without its thorns). Lent does not have to be solely about giving up our favorite foods and drink, but it can remind us to forego hatred and lack of forgiveness and instead, build a pure and clean heart.

May your Lenten season be filled with an abundance of love, kindness, forgiveness, grace and all things beautiful.

Bernadette Sahm is the Director of Mission Advancement for the Mission Helpers of the Sacred Heart.

Pope Francis' Address to Congress: Entering into Dialogue

francis at congress

 

Pope Francis’ address to the joint session of Congress was an historical milestone.  His message, not surprisingly, called on Congress and all Americans to be beacons of light and hope, especially for the poor, the elderly, the immigrant, the young – indeed, all God’s people.  He called on all of us to put aside the polarizing stances that we often adopt and work together for the betterment of all people and the environment. Francis invoked four influential Americans in communicating his message: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton.  The text of his address, as published by America Media, is linked below.

Leave a comment below telling us what most inspired or challenged you about Francis’s address to Congress.

http://papalvisit.americamedia.org/2015/09/24/full-text-of-pope-francis-speech-to-congress/

Experiencing God

A Reflection by Sister Donna Fannon, MHSH

Evry Creature Reflct God Pope

Isn’t this a wonderful statement from Pope Francis’ Encyclical “Laudato Si”?  When I came upon it I was struck by the many wonderful ways God uses to communicate to us, and how God uses all of creation as a revelation of Godself.

The Pope’s statement remind me of some of my favorite passages that have led me to ponder the care, love and largess of God’s involvement in the universe:

          “The world is charged with the grandeur of God…” [Gerard Manley Hopkins]
“The heavens proclaim the glory of God…” [Ps 18]

          “Seas and rivers, bless the Lord.
          You dolphins and all water creatures, bless the Lord.
          All you birds of the air, bless the Lord.
          All you beasts, wild and tame, bless the Lord…” [Daniel, chap. 3]

Grandeur of GOD 4What is the message that God is conveying to us? How do we avail ourselves to listen to that message? And how do we respond to what we hear?

Ernesto Cardenal, a Nicaraguan priest, poet and politician put it this way:

God communicates with us by way of all things. They are messages of love.

Grandeur of GOD 3How have you experienced God’s love recently?

  • Taking a moment to wonder at your capacity to love and be loved…
  • Gazing at the stars and experiencing a sense of awe at the vastness of the universe and, despite the minuteness of yourself, become aware of your capacity to appreciate your place in God’s grand design.
  • Experiencing a sense of gratitude and awe at being a part of this grand design 

God's love 3So, the next time you try to skip a rock on the surface of a pond, pet your cat, play with your dog, ponder the miracle or your spouse, children and friends, take a moment to thank God for revealing and sharing Love in such accessible ways…and share that love with another—any other on the face of the earth.