In Pope Francis’s message for Lent 2016, which he begins with the gospel verse “I desire mercy, not sacrifice,” he says that sacrifice is pointless if it doesn’t help others.
For all of us, then, the season of Lent in this Jubilee Year is a favourable time to overcome our existential alienation by listening to God’s word and by practising the works of mercy. In the corporal works of mercy we touch the flesh of Christ in our brothers and sisters who need to be fed, clothed, sheltered, visited; in the spiritual works of mercy – counsel, instruction, forgiveness, admonishment and prayer – we touch more directly our own sinfulness. The corporal and spiritual works of mercy must never be separated.
Pope Francis’s full message can be read here.
I get the Pope’s message because people can get so consumed with something that, in fact, is pretty trivial like giving up ice-cream or alcohol. Seriously? How does that help you become more Christ-like? How are you becoming a more spiritual person and opening yourself up to God’s grace?
That said, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with determining a Lenten resolution that is very personal and individual. For me, I am giving up worrying. Yes worrying! It has dominated my life for the past couple years, causing extreme stress and anxiety, which makes me more of a bitch. Bottom line: I am going to be a better person for myself and for my community if I stop worrying and trusting in God’s plan for me.
I’m also going to meditate every day. I’m a novice meditator, which means I’ve got a bunch of guided meditations queued up to start my day in zenful peace.
Any Catholics out there want to share their Lenten resolutions?
What about those new year’s resolutions? How are those going? Full disclosure: I haven’t done new year’s resolutions in a couple years.