Seasonal Reflections:Sr. Maureen Murphy
In recent days death has been very much on my mind. An elderly much loved parishioner died, our Associate Lesley Costello died, Sister Austin died and then while I was typing what I would say at Sister’s funeral I received an email telling me of the death of Fr Hans Stampfer, MHM, a friend for thirty years. May they all rest in peace. It would be easy to become sad and downhearted but then I read “The moment when God comes to claim His own, when sin and failure fall away, and the true beauty of the soul is glimpsed is always a moment of sheer wonder.” ( Sr C Wybourne I Benedictines) Yes, how true this is as we ponder the mystery of life and death and we are filled with the wonder which is God.
In few days times we will begin our Lenten journey, our time of preparation for the greatest of God’s wonders, the mystery of the Resurrection, when all things will be made new. Pope Francis calls Lent a sacramental sign of conversion and he asks that we begin our reflection with the words of St Paul writing to the Romans “ For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God.” (Rom.8:9)
In his Lenten letter Pope Francis encourages us to embrace the three traditional Lenten practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving as follows:
“ Prayer which teaches us to abandon idolatry, the self sufficiency of our ego and to acknowledge our need of the Lord and His mercy.”
“ Fasting – learning to change our attitude to one another and all of creation, turning away from the temptation to devour everything to satisfy our voracity and being ready to suffer for love, which can fill the emptiness of our hearts.”
“Almsgiving, whereby we escape from the insanity of hoarding everything for ourselves in the illusory belief that we can secure a future that does not belong to us.”
We will all know ourselves how to best live out these practices in our daily lives but in case you wish to unite with others, here are a few suggestions:-
Prayer – meditate on some of the beautiful passages of Laudato Si as well as Scripture.
- Pray one of the new Stations of the Cross For Human Trafficking
- Watch less television or spend less time on the computer and give the time you save to prayer.
Fasting– in addition to your usual “giving up something” , fast also from gossip, criticism and small mindedness
- Turn off unnecessary lights and turn down the heating.
Almsgiving- in addition to small personal giving, why not give up some of your time to visit the sick, talk to people and, more importantly, listen to them
- Plant some seeds and grow something
Pope Francis wants what we do in Lent to benefit the environment so perhaps we could refrain from buying anything with plastic in it and opt for glass alternatives. We could refrain from buying new clothes – a new cotton blouse uses 700 gallons of water in its manufacture. Remember simple things like filling the washing machine to make the 15-30 gallons of water it uses more worthwhile.
The environment is not only about creation of course – it is also where we live and work, so let us try to be nice to one another, forgive easily, let go of moods or offences, be respectful of differences and pray for one another. Then, as Pope Francis says we will rediscover the joy of God’s plan for creation and for each of us, which is to love Him, our brothers and sisters and the entire world and to find in this love our true happiness.
Let us pray that our Lenten journey will lead us to joy and peace in the Resurrection.
Love and prayers