Well, here we are, smack-dab in the middle of this Lenten journey. And most of us may be feeling likewise…stuck, smack-dab in the middle of drought, suffering, little failures. But let us not forget, Lent is all about transformation. It is about allowing God to transform our hearts – from cold, hard stones, to vessels of love. And He is doing just that, even though we may be feeling stuck.
But how? Two words: Divine Mercy.
Pope Francis tells us that “God’s Mercy can make even the driest land become a garden, can restore life to dry bones.”
The same is true for desert hearts. Through God’s endless Mercy, and through our conscious effort to seek and receive His Mercy, our hearts will blossom, and we will grow. Pope Francis continues, “Let us be renewed by God’s mercy, let us be loved by Jesus, let us enable the power of his love to transform our lives too…”
Even better news: there are no limits to Divine Mercy, not even in a country like Liberia, where remnants of war and destruction are still evident, a dozen years later.
Liberia Mission, for example, is just one of the many safe-haven organizations that developed during and after Liberia’s civil war. These orphanages, schools, refuge centers, etc., all have one thing in common – they are an extension of God’s Mercy in a place where sin and evil prevailed.
At Liberia Mission, our students are not only living in this extension of Mercy, they are actually sharing Mercy with others. Souldiers for Christ, a service group of adolescent students, are performing Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy weekly throughout their community. They visit the sick and elderly, read to the illiterate, and share the Gospel by word and deed.
They are actively responding to Pope Francis’ call to action, “…let us become agents of this mercy, channels through which God can water the earth, protect all creation and make justice and peace flourish.”
This end-quote reminds us that Mercy is more than just forgiveness. It is compassion. It is empathy. Mercy is lovingly meeting someone on their journey and simply being with them.
So as we sit here, stuck in the middle of of the desert, maybe discouraged, maybe hopeful, let us shift our focus from where we are on the journey and look instead upon needs of others on their journey. Let us meet our neighbor with mercy…and surely, our hearts will grow in Mercy’s garden.