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Reflect on Lenten promises

Sunday, March 18, 2018

With only two weeks to go before the Lenten period ends, it might be a good time to reflect on how well you did on your Lenten promises. A little more than a month ago many of us made pledges aiming to make ourselves better people. Are we in a better place? Have we been faithful to resolutions we made? Many times, it has proven very difficult to maintain those pledges. Some of us try again and then some of us throw our hands in the air and decide that’s a waste of time.

Let us take the practice of forgiveness, which is so desperately needed in our society these days. It is an established fact that through the years forgiveness is one of the most difficult spiritual practices known to even us Christians.

Sr Joyce Rupp OSM writing in “Living Faith” said, “I have met only a few people who seemed to forgive easily. Most, including myself, hang on to old hurts until they become like a pile of dirty laundry. The clothes won’t be clean unless we do something about the problem.”

She added, “it is the same with forgiving others.”

It is no wonder then that Jesus said this as part of his prayer, when He said, “We will not be able to forgive without bringing out hurts and resentment to the One who has the power to heal through us.”

“Forgiveness” said Sr Joyce “is not something we do entirely on our own. We must pray to have the courage and humility to forgive another.” Rabbi Rami Shapiro wrote, “Forgiveness is not forgetting, excusing, accepting, denying, or numbing ourselves to pain. Forgiveness is letting go.” Prayer readies our heart and mind to finally let go of what diminishes our love and squashes our kindness to the size of a pebble.

Now that we see that forgiveness is directly related to prayer and forgiveness is not easy to deliver to our fellow man, the necessity for prayer is paramount. EM Bounty, in his book “The Power of Prayer” wrote, “He who does not pray about worldly matters cannot pray with confidence about spiritual matters.”

Further he said, “He who does not put God in his struggling toil for daily bread will never put Him in his struggle for heaven. He who does not cover and supply the needs of the body by prayer will never cover and supply the needs of his soul. Both body and soul are dependent on God and prayer is but the crying expression of that dependence.”

Lent presents that opportunity and as Christians we should embrace the opportunity to become more prayerful every day, not only in Lent, but throughout our lives. As the book says, how much needless care would we save ourselves if we just believed in prayer as the means of relieving those cares and would learn the happy art of casting all our cares in prayer upon God, who cares for us.

It is not too late to develop that habit even outside of the Lenten season. Remember prayer flows from all of us.


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