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Ash Wednesday, 2015

Sister Joan Mahoney, CND, Coordinator of the CND Associate Relationship

These first four days of Lent are for me a time to gradually enter the season - somewhat like putting my big toe into July ocean water and very gradually getting wet.  Gracious God, what is your invitation to me this Lent?  I mull and ponder. 

As I read the liturgical prayers and scriptures for Ash Wednesday, the word “mercy” jumped out at me.  I went back and counted, six times it appears.  Immediately, I remembered the motto of Pope Francis, the same one he had as a bishop, “By Having Mercy and by Choosing Him”.  A closer meaning could be “By Mercying and Choosing Him”.   

Early in his papacy, Francis recommended a “book that has done me so much good”, Cardinal Walter Kasper’s Mercy: The Essence of the Gospel and the Key to Christian Life.   I am intrigued by Kasper’s statement “Mercy is the heart of the biblical message, not by undercutting justice, but by surpassing it.” p. 18.   In my mulling, I recalled that St. Marguerite Bourgeoys, the founder of the CND, often called upon the God of mercy in her writings “…I have received, and continue to receive from your mercy…”  “We dare to hope (for the graces we need) from your mercy”.  “…the goodness of God makes me hope in His mercy.”  (WMB p. 109, 135, 161).  

Associate Bonnie Cotter suggested to some of us for the New Year to discover a word for 2015. Quoting Abby of the Arts website, Bonnie wrote, “something to nourish me, challenge me, a word I can wrestle with and grow into.  The word which chooses me has the potential to transform me”. I am wondering if “mercy” is the word God is revealing to me for this Lent.  Is Christ calling me to humbly receive and recognize God’s gracious mercy?  Is this God of Mercy inviting me to contemplate this mystery and become more merciful?  What will it mean for me to reflect the mercy of God who loves all of creation without exception? 

Is there a word or a phrase that would contain your and God’s desires, dreams, challenge and call to action this Lent?  What are your ponderings as you begin this graced time of Lent?  Are you open to Lent’s surprise for you?  

 

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