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Lenten Reflection: Making Space for Grace

Published: March 4, 2023

Written by Sr. Bridget Smith, ASCJ

"Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Stop judging, and you will not be judged. Stop condemning, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you…For the measure with which you measure will, in return, be measured out to you." (Luke 6:36-38)

This time of year, when spring is on the threshold, I usually clear away the dead stalks of last year’s native perennials. It is very meditative to cut away the brittle brown leaves and seed pods. I am careful not to harm what new life lies below. At first glance, the garden looks dead, but beneath the dry brush is new life and the potential for new growth of flowering plants.

During Lent, we are invited to clear away the debris of our souls: judgmental attitudes, condemnation of others, selfishness, unwillingness to see another view, pride, holding grudges, not offering forgiveness to one who has hurt us— to name just a few. Beneath such sinful behaviors are always opportunities of grace, of new life. With God’s grace, we can name the sinful behavior that may have become a habit and is hindering us from being merciful like Christ. We can admit we have this hurtful tendency before our merciful God. How fortunate we are that we can ask God to help us weed out these sins in Reconciliation!

God knows our weaknesses already, yet He loves us abundantly, showering us with His mercy. This Lent, we can hope to respond to His grace, embrace his mercy and let God bring new growth to our souls.

Lord, your gracious mercy renews me. Help me to ponder:

  • What debris do I need to clear in my soul this Lent?
  • Is there someone to whom I need to offer mercy and compassion without measure?

Sr. Bridget Smith serves as both a teacher and Director of Mission Advancement at Sacred Heart Villa, our early childhood development center in St. Louis.

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