For Lent this year, we have asked eight sisters and associates to reflect on the Beatitudes and offer ways in which we may embrace these blessings in our own Lenten journeys. There will be additional reflections published for Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday and Easter.
By Sister Lillian Jordan
Beloved Sisters and Brothers,
Years ago, I had just begun my public life, after having been baptized by my cousin John in the Jordan. Peter, his brother Andrew, and James and John—the sons of Zebedee—had responded to my call and had left everything to accompany me on my mission to teach, to heal and to preach the Good News of God’s reign.
A large crowd gathered, curious to see who I was and what I was doing. In response, I climbed a nearby hillside and began to preach. I longed to touch their hearts and teach them about my unconditional love. I yearned to show them the attitudes of spirit that could guide their lives and bring them peace. The heart of my sermon that day, and the path to life, has come to be called the Beatitudes.
The first, “Blessed are the Poor in Spirit,” is foundational to discipleship. It calls you to count nothing as your own, to empty yourself of self-centeredness, and, in simplicity and humility, to recognize that the gifts you are given are given to be shared. Living well the first Beatitude is to intentionally, prayerfully turn your heart to being filled with my Spirit, alive and active in you, shaping you to be all you can be for my people—all people.
You live in a world in darkness. I see in the faces of my people the pain of their experience of poverty, illness, inequality, division, violence, disenfranchisement and injustice of all sorts. Concerns for your common home, Earth, and its thoughtless ravaging wrench my heart. I count on you to be faithful people of mercy, committed to prayerful dialogue and creative action that will serve to bring light that dispels darkness.
Much can be accomplished to make a difference when you work together to become knowledgeable about local, national and world concerns, and act courageously for more just solutions. As Sisters of Mercy, Associates, Companions and partners, you have done much to address your Critical Concerns. I encourage you to be unflagging in your zeal to daily recommit yourselves to this work to bring healing and hope to a hurting world.
As you embark on your Lenten journey, know that you will be held tenderly in my heart and strengthened by my love. May you live in the holy paradox of knowing that it is in the emptying of yourself for my sake that you will be filled with the presence and power of my love. May our journey to the cross this year culminate with the glorious celebration of Resurrection and the deeper realization of the Kingdom of God among us.