From the Deacon’s Desk: Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts
March 1 – First Sunday in Lent
On Ash Wednesday, in our Gospel Acclamation, we hear the refrain from Psalm 95, “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” Immediately after the gospel, in the prayer for the blessing of ashes, the first words we hear are “O God, who are moved by acts of humility and respond with forgiveness to works of penance, lend your merciful ear to our prayers.” We enter into Lent by first going into the desert with Jesus to contemplate the temptations in our lives and how we are to respond. Do we follow the example of Adam and Eve, not listening to the voice of God, turning our hearts away, letting our pride control us? Or do we follow the example of Jesus, who chooses always and everywhere to submit in obedience to God’s will, embracing humility and prayer as His shield against the temptations of Satan, while responding with mercy and compassion for those he meets.
As Vincentians, we go into the desert of poverty, pain to suffering, each time we go on home visits or care for those who are suffering and vulnerable. Each time we see the face of Christ – even if we don’t recognize it at first. We are called to listen with a merciful ear, acting with a tenderness of heart as we seek God’s will, and respond with kindness and humility. We listen for His voice that our hearts might be moved through prayer away from sin, and we might be healed through our care for others. Do I enter into each encounter through prayer and humility, listening for His will that my heart might be moved to act with mercy and compassion? When I look at situations of suffering and the challenges of others, am I able to see the reflection of my poverties that I might seek God’s forgiveness and surrender to His will?
Lord Jesus, I pray this Lenten season that you will shield me from the temptation of pride and help me to grow in humility. Help me to hear your voice, following in the footsteps of Jesus, seeking your will in all situations. Allow me to be a vessel serving you in whatever way you call me to. Let me look at those whom you bring before me, and see in them what it is that you call me to. Help me to recognize Lord that as I serve them, they serve me. In Christ’s name! Amen