OUR JOURNEY THROUGH LENT – A CALL TO HOPE
By Sr. Brenda Walsh, Racine Dominican
Lent has traditionally been a time to reflect on the
death and resurrection of Jesus, to fast and to change one’s life direction as
needed. It was also a time to do good works to bring healing and hope to our
world. The forty days before Easter are a symbol of the time Jesus spent in the
wilderness before his crucifixion. In addition to going deeper within, it can
also be a time to live and preach hope, especially in times of darkness and
despair which many people experience in our time. The basis of our hope is the
great love God shows for us at all times, especially through the life,
suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus for our salvation.
During Lent, we are invited to search deeply within
our minds and hearts and to look at our own hopes for our own lives and for our
world. People often ask: “ How can we have hope in times like these?” If we
watch TV or read the daily paper, there are endless stories of abuse and
neglect, of children dying of hunger and disease, threats of more wars, and
great lack of respect in civil discourse and shattered hopes and dreams for many
families. Often out of chaos, we see people reaching out in care and compassion,
working to change systems and structures that dehumanize and sharing their
resources with those most in need. We can rely on God’s promise to redeem us
from all our iniquities and to never let us walk alone. We know that where God
is, there can always be hope. Lent can be a time when we listen more deeply to
hear and respond to the voice of God within and around us. Jesus prayed in his
deepest agony and it gave him strength to continue the journey.
How can we promote and preach hope?
We can do this by believing that even in the darkest
times, God’s hand will always hold and support us. It is believing that there is
something new, something more behind the dark cloud that will bring sunshine to
our lives. Hope is in the waiting and expecting. We never give up even when
there seems to be no visible sign that things could or will be better. IS. 43: 2
tells us “When you pass through waters, they will not swallow you up. When you
go through rivers, they will not sweep over you. …..’ As we journey with Jesus,
we all experience life’s challenges. We have the power of the Spirit and are
sent to reflect God’s healing, forgiveness and hope to all we meet. We reflect
on God’s dream for our own lives and for our world, and see how we can
contribute to making that dream a reality. No matter what the challenges,
nothing is impossible with the power and grace of God.
I often think of a conversation with a faith-filled
African -American woman who called me recently. She has experienced much pain
and suffering in her life. She said: “I wake up every morning and give thanks to
God for whatever the day will bring. I know that God’s outcome will be the best
outcome. I walk through the day with confidence, trust and hope.” She is a
witness to living a hope-filled life.
During Lent, let us open our minds and hearts to the
transforming power of God’s presence and grace. We try to empty ourselves of our
self-righteousness and pride and see how we can respond to God’s call in new
ways by place ourselves in God’s hands. Through God’s transforming power we will
bring deep hope into our own lives and our world. Loving God, may we be your
partners in hope this Lent and always.