From the Deacon’s Desk: Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts
March 21 – Fifth Sunday in Lent
This year of the pandemic has indeed been challenging for everyone in one way or another. One of the ‘blessings’ may be that it has taught us in a way nothing else could of our reliance on God, AND on one another. As hard as we may try, it has always been difficult for many of us to truly relate to the challenges of those in poverty. Challenges of uncertainty, of fear, of lack of confidence and a sense of isolation and being forgotten by an uncaring or unaware system. The pandemic has connected those with, and those without, in our shared challenges, fears, sense of loss and helplessness. It has taught us that there is not always an apparent answer if we simply prepare and live right. There are not always rules or guidelines that are obvious. The only answers, sometimes, come from being in close relationship with God. It is truly the only place where we can come to and make sense of our shared struggles.
This week, we hear from the prophet Jeremiah about the Covenant of the Heart. “A day will come,” says the Lord through Jeremiah, “when I will write my law upon their hearts. No longer will they have need to teach their friends and relatives how to know the LORD. All, from least to greatest, shall know me, says the LORD.” That day has come. It is only through relationship with the Lord, seeking Him in prayer, listening to His will, and embracing His mercy and love, that we can lift one another up from the depths of despair and uncertainty.
As Vincentians, sometimes the roadmap is not clear – there are no good and clear answers. That has been especially true during this year of the pandemic. We must turn to God in prayer and follow what seems right in our hearts. When we are united to God, then we can look within ourselves, determine what our conscience is telling us and what God places upon our hearts, and know how to serve our God. We don’t need particular laws for we have the Covenant of the Heart, a Covenant of compassion and mercy. We have the Lord. Our gospel tells us, “The Father will honor whoever follows me.” Just as the angels were with Jesus in His greatest time of suffering, He is with us when we come in prayer for His will. Easter points to new beginnings and new life. We are sharers in that new life. We need to have hearts of compassion, mercy and kindness. We ask God for a clean heart, that we might serve Him faithfully and well. Do I trust completely in God to provide me answers to my needs and the needs of others? Am I obedient to His will for me and for others?
Father, my heart aches from this year of pain, suffering and uncertainty. Through my suffering let me see and connect to your suffering, offered for my salvation. Give me back the joy of your salvation, cleansing my heart of its pain. Lord Jesus, create in me a clean heart that I may be your servant – that your way may be written upon my heart! Give me a heart filled with compassion and mercy – kindness and goodness. Give me a heart full of zeal and passion for your will in my life and the life of others. Write your law – a law of mercy and love – upon my heart that I might look beyond the rules to understand what is truly needed. Grant me the wisdom to seek and know your will in all instances. We pray all of this in your name. Amen