Lent is a time to renew personal commitment to a God-centred life and to find God in all things, past and present. It is a time to listen attentively to God’s call to leave behind what holds “me” back, or what pulls “me” down from a fuller and deeper relationship with God. `The fourth week of Lent is full of imaginings, healing activities and very clear invitations to look deep inside ourselves to touch those very spots within us, which need God’s healing, deliverance and conversion as we pace forward towards a post-COVID 19 future that is full of hope for newness of life in our ecosystem, the new Easter. In anticipation, Pope Francis’ recent book “Let us Dream: A hope for a better future”, highlights a better future full of hope for us.
The healing of the man born blind in the fourth Sunday’s Gospel invites us to focus on our emotional, physical and spiritual aspects of sight and light in order to encounter Jesus. In the first part of the week, the Gospels are full of signs that help us see who Jesus really is. In the rest of the week, we hear of forces that are opposed to Jesus, and we are invited to grow in love and compassion for what Jesus is facing on our behalf, and within our own lives. The week ends with a very deep and beautiful discourse where Jesus is making it clear that he is not seeking personal interests but the will of the one who sent him. He is full of sorrow and gratitude as well. Generally, this week summons us to realize that within our longings, sorrows, anxieties, pains, fear, discouragement, shame, guilty, blindness, deafness, mental, physical and/or spiritual sicknesses, there is always Grace. The winds of Grace are always blowing and all we need is to raise our sails high to move forward. Wayne Muller wrote, “When we come closer to those things that break us down, we touch things that also break us open” for free movement of the Holy Spirit and to respond to God’s will in that freedom.
One of my favourite practices is “Mindfulness”, which meaning can be summed up in two words: Pay attention. I believe that once I pay attention intentionally and notice what I am doing with what could be affecting me, and/ or others negatively, I can see that I have the power to change the situation to the heartbeat of God for me and for others as well. We pray to allow Jesus’ way of paying attention and noticing reality around him, of serving the needy through self-giving become the antidote of our personal vocation and mission. Jesus makes it clear that serving leads to joy and not serving leads to misery. Let us call upon the Lord Jesus for strength and for trust, convinced that one’s heart is happiest when it beats for others. Let us pray for the grace to pay attention, to touch base with our inner selves, and for the courage to sustain our sails raised high during our Lenten journey with our Lord Jesus. Reinventing self takes personal discipline and courage. This is the time to get rid of the person I always see in the mirror. Who I am has nothing to do with how I look, what I do and where I go but who and what I am becoming in the eyes of God, our Creator….. It is time to reflect and ask oneself: Who am I becoming this Lenten season? Who is stirring my heartbeat? What is enlarging my heart?
Sister Elizabeth Nakayiza, RSCJ.