Reflection by Aidan Troy [Aodhán O Troighthigh] Please note: the view of the above alone.
One of the ‘pillars’ of Lent is ‘almsgiving’ or ‘works of love’. With the needs of many people so great, it may make us wonder if there is much we can do to help. It’s clear that there is no once for all remedy for everyone. But, because I can’t do everything, does not mean I cannot do something to make a difference.
On Ash Wednesday, I celebrated Mass for a school and signed the staff and students with blessed ashes. During the few words of the homily I offered, I mentioned that part of Lent was to look around us and see if there is anything at all that we can do to make life a bit more pleasant for somebody else. That school does a great amount both locally and overseas for people in need.
Leaving church after Mass, a young girl with her classmates came over to me. She took a few coins out of her coat pocket. She asked me to take them for a poor person. This touched me deeply. The Word of Jesus that we love God and our neighbour has found a home in her heart. I have carried out her wish.
Lent this year started on the same day when a lot of people were celebrating Valentine’s Day. A symbol much used on that day is the human heart. Lent is also the season of the heart. It seems to me that the heart is where everything is decided. The mind is important in preparing but the heart plays the crucial role. If I decide to do something with my mind, I need the heart to see it through.
It is the heart that makes us human. God places in our hearts at creation, a part of His own heart – it is called Love. Every created person has a spark of the Divine in their heart. By temptation and sin, I can deaden the divine in me. Lent helps us recover from the losses incurred by sin. It is a season of the heart.
The very first heart is the Sacred Heart. God as Father has a heart. Jesus as Son has a heart. The Holy Spirit is the love in the heart of God. Lent is a time of grace when we enter into the Divine Love and rejoice that this is where we call home.
We belong in this everlasting flow of love. How true are the words of Jesus when he told us, ‘Where your treasure is, there is your heart also.’
My prayer at the beginning of Lent is:
Lord, give me a courageous heart to go forth and engage with life even when I am afraid and confused.
Lord, free me from a fearful heart that holds back and is hesitant.
Lord, give me a compassionate heart that does not carry the burden of judgement.
Lord, give me a forgiving heart that knows the joy of being free
Lord, give me a loving heart more like yours in all I say and do this Lent.