Ash Wednesday - Introduction

Introduction to our Lenten reflections 2016 - A moment for Mercy

What is easier to do for Lent? Go without chocolate or try to be merciful? The first seems more challenging, for 40 days are quite long, and if I succeed I will feel good and strong. Being merciful is more vague, something I am not so good at, so that at the end I will not be sure whether I succeeded or not. Deep down I suspect things will not change after all: I know myself and the people around me too well to harbour false hopes of lasting changes. Much less will my mercy make a difference in the wider world.

Yet, I also feel that the Pope's invitation to dedicate a whole year to reflect on how to live more mercifully better touches something deep in my heart. I am so touched every time someone treats me mercifully, beyond what I deserve, and I do feel this desire deep in me to know how to treat others better.

I also know that unless we are able to look at others with the eyes of mercy and not exact the pound of flesh, our world will explode into violence. I might not be able to admit it to myself all the time, yet I know that only those relationships, whether between friends, family or peoples, that include forgiving mercy will survive and grow.

During this Lent we will look at mercy in a very concrete way, by presenting some thoughts on what Christians have traditionally called the 'works of mercy': seven have to do with our bodily needs, like food and drink and shelter, and the other seven with our more spiritual side, like consoling those who are sad and praying for those in need.

And, don't forget, going without chocolate will strengthen your will, and thus make you more capable to be merciful!

By Paul Pace, SJ

PLEASE NOTE: While we will upload a reflection on this site every three days, starting from Thursday February 11th, you will also be able to receive our texts, e-postcards and video every day directly onto your newsfeed via our Facebook page ('Like' the Maltese Jesuit Province Facebook page to receive the short daily reflections).

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