Sister Anne's Lenten Reflection

Posted on: 13 February 2024

Author:Sister Joan Kerley


As the special liturgical season of Lent approaches I would like to offer a few reflections which may be helpful for us as we enter into this time, referred to by Pope Francis as a Season of Grace.  

Pope Francis has centred his Lenten message for 2024 on the Book of Exodus, choosing “Through the Desert God Leads Us to Freedom” as its main theme, emphasising that the season is a journey from bondage to spiritual renewal and freedom.

The Pope invites us to welcome Lent as a time of conversion where the desert can become “a place where our freedom can mature in a personal decision not to fall back into slavery”, where “we find new criteria of justice and a community with which we can press forward on a road not yet taken. It is the great season in which we are reminded: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery”. The Pope points out that the three pillars of Lent — prayer, almsgiving, and fasting — are not three unrelated acts but a “single movement of openness and self-emptying in which we cast out the idols that weigh us down, the attachments that imprison us.” This is God’s dream, the promised land to which we journey once we have left our slavery behind. On a personal level we might take some time to think how, at this moment in my life, what attitudes or attachments are preventing me being a better person with God’s help. In what practical ways do I feel the Spirit inviting me to greater freedom, fulfilment, and happiness.

The Pope emphasises that Lent helps us to rediscover the contemplative dimension of life that will release new energies. He urges us to “slow down, then, and pause!”, and he says this means to pause in prayer, to pause “in the presence of a wounded brother or sister. In the presence of God, we become brothers and sisters, more sensitive to one another: in place of threats and enemies, we discover companions and fellow travellers”.

I know we all value Lent as an opportunity to deepen our relationship with the Lord, to spend more time in consciously being present to the Lord in prayer, in attentively listening to the Lord. The Pope’s injunction to “slow down and pause” is probably a very attractive proposition to those who are involved in various active ministries. For those of us, who because of age or illness, have slowed down, the invitation to deepen our relationship with the Lord is of course also pertinent as the Lord is always drawing us into deeper intimacy.

The Pope’s message also links our spiritual renewal to release of new energies which make us more compassionate and active in reaching out to those who are forgotten, marginalized, and suffering, to those left the furthest behind in our world, whether this is through our ministries, or our prayer, or both.
In conclusion I pray that God’s grace may touch each of us this Lent and we may be renewed in our own lives and grow in intimacy with God and in our outreach to others.

With love,

Sr Anne Moore
Congregational Leader