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Lenten Lift: Weekly Message for 3-7-17
Dear Friends in Christ,
Mention the word “Lent,” and many people think about giving up chocolate or saying extra prayers.
That is OK. Pope Francis in his Message for Lent calls it “a favorable season for deepening our spiritual life through the means of sanctification offered us by the Church: fasting, prayer and almsgiving.”
We can offer sacrifices for our own sins or for the conversion of a loved one, of course. But this year it might be good to think about going beyond the usual intentions.
This might be a good year to offer up Lenten sacrifices for the unity of peoples.
Unity seems in short supply. Case in point: Just about everyone nowadays is rattled by the nasty tone of public discourse in the media. Verbal attacks see the with frightful ferocity.
A modest antidote to this problem could be found in the Holy Father’s Lenten message. Referring to a Gospel parable, the Pope writes: “Lazarus teaches us that other persons are a gift. A right relationship with people consists in gratefully recognizing their value.”
Imagine what the world would be like if that one insight sunk in. Imagine what it would do for public discourse – that act of recognizing the basic goodness in others.
That would be a nice intention to add to our Lenten prayers and sacrifices: the promotion of more civilized dialogue in the media.
So why not pray for political leaders and pundits who shape and monitor the forum of public discourse? The result could be a media environment that won’t make you cringe – a fruit that would last long after Lent ends.
If you need help going deeper into the Lenten spirit, consider doing one of our online retreats at https://rcspirituality.org/retreat-guides/.
Think of them as media offerings that could give you a needed lift.
Father Edward McIlmail, L.C.
Ask a Priest contributor