March 1, 2017
By Sister Margaret Mary Knittel
We are invited to walk with Jesus during this Lenten Season with the Stations of the Cross. Reflections written by Sisters of Mercy will be posted each Wednesday and Friday during Lent until Good Friday, April 14. We pray to find immeasurable Mercy as we walk these moments with Christ Jesus.
Faced with another Lent, as children we would annually ask our dad what he was giving up. Each year he would respond with the same list—“watermelon and pumpkin seeds.” Educated by the Sisters of Mercy and the Jesuits, he left us to our reflections on this season. What we gave up was our choice.
A resource from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops places the first Station of the Cross in the Garden of Gethsemane. Returning from prayer, Jesus finds his disciples asleep; earlier he had been clear with them—you sit here while I go over there and pray. We judge that they didn’t get it.
Beginning this new Lent with supersized ambitions of “giving up,” we seek substitutes that are sometimes distracting from deeper questions. As Jesus begins his suffering, we might consider the innocents suffering in our world. Who are they? The unborn come immediately to mind, as do the aged. But who else? Through nightly news we see the faces of those who are bombed out without home, food, loved family members, clean clothes, soap, water. The innocents could be those I do not see in a suffering that I cannot comprehend. Our choice for Lent may begin and end in prayer, a prayer out there beyond the “getting it” side of life.
The coming of Lent could well stir us to include watermelon and pumpkin seeds— experimenting with a new behavior, stretching our hands and opening our hearts to the grace of a revealing God. We might spend less time figuring out the news and set aside a Lenten quiet time that takes priority; read an article or book normally passed by; stir the imagination by attending an adult education option in the parish. And if like the disciples you nap, know others have in the past.