“Forgiveness is the answer to the child’s dream of a miracle by which what is broken is made whole again, what is soiled is made clean again.” — Dag Hammerskjold
I love this quote. It is within a child’s heart to hope that something that “got broke” can be made whole again – the toy or Mommy’s vase; and when it can’t, forgiveness makes things better again, no matter the seriousness of the break.
Lent is a time for healing what is broken. It is a time to ask forgiveness for our sins, to “wash us from our guilt and wipe away our offense.” (Ps. 51) It is a time to allow God to create a new heart in us.
Many religions have a certain time of the year when those who espouse that faith are called to acknowledge their unworthiness before their God. And when we stop our usual busy lives to take note, we usually do not have trouble recognizing that we have not lived perfect lives, we have messed up in one or another of our relationships, and maybe most notably in our relationship with God. Jews have Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, the holiest day of the year for them. Muslims have Ramadan, a month of fasting from dawn to dusk, to atone for their sins. And Christians have Lent, a time to give attention to our relationship with God.
This starts with Ash Wednesday, when ashes are smeared on our foreheads, and we are reminded to repent. And during the forty days after, we are invited to tend to the broken pieces of our relationship with God and ask God for healing.
We will be offering several services or programs at the Mount that might help you do that.
- Mass every Tues. and Thurs. at 11:00 AM in the 6th fl. chapel
- A Bible Study program on Tues. Feb. 19 at 4:30-5:30 in the Corona Room, with Pastor Peter Matthews from the Methodist Church.
- The third session of Catholicism 101 at 6:30-8:00 in the Corona Rm. on Wed. Feb. 20th. This one will be on Prayer.
- Mass at 9 PM in the 6th fl. chapel on the following Sundays: Feb.17, Mar. 3, and on Mar. 24 at 9 PM in Mater Dei Chapel (Palm Sunday).
- On the Sundays when Mass is not offered on campus, you are invited to attend the 9:30 AM Mass at the Motherhouse or go to a local parish.
- The “BUSY PERSON RETREAT” Feb. 27 – Mar. 6, a week where you are invited to spend some time each day for your own personal prayer, and an opportunity to meet with a spiritual mentor 3-4 times during the week. There is a group opening prayer service on Feb. 27 and a closing one on Mar. 6.
- There are “Black Books”, booklets to help with personal reflection, at the entrance to Mater Dei Chapel and to the 6th floor chapel.
- There are also “Rice Bowls” in the Seton Lobby. These are boxes to take to your room or home and use them for donations for people in need around our world. The money you return in your boxes at the end of Lent will be sent to Catholic Relief Services, an excellent non-profit that works on both direct relief and systemic change wherever this is needed.
Lent is a time for healing. And healing is a process. There are ample opportunities to help us in that healing process. We are all invited to pick up the broken pieces of our lives and of our world and experience the balm of healing, and the tender mercy of our God.
Happy Lent to all, and an even happier Easter!