Lent invites us to clear the blocks in our hearts and minds and be open to God’s rich mercy, ever-new. From centuries ago, the words of our founders still resound, full of wisdom and insight for today. Saints Elizabeth Ann Seton, Vincent de Paul, and Louise de Marillac guide us as we walk in the footsteps of Christ during this Jubilee Year of Mercy. They are our mentors in the way of affective and effective love, the way of discipleship.
ST. ELIZABETH ANN SETON
Suffer all from others without giving them anything to suffer; bear with their defects as we wish them to bear with us.
The first rule of Christian charity – to believe no ill [of others], if we have not seen it; and to be silent, if we have seen it.
ST. VINCENT DE PAUL
Remember that patience is as necessary to bear with ourselves as charity is to bear with the neighbor. May God be pleased to give us both.
There is no lot in life where there is nothing to be endured.
St. LOUISE DE MARILLAC
At the foot of this holy, sacred and adored Cross, I sacrifice everything that might prevent me from loving.
Go then courageously, advancing moment by moment on the path on which God has placed you in order to reach Him.
Charity Wisdom from Our Friends
Do not give up working for peace. Always remember that the peace for which you work is not of this world. Do not let yourself be distracted by the great noises of war, the dramatic descriptions of misery, and the sensational expressions of human cruelty….
Keep your eyes on the prince of peace, the one who doesn’t cling to his divine power; the one who refuses to turn stones into bread, jump from great heights, and rule with great power; the one who says, ”Blessed are the poor, the gentle, those who mourn, and those who hunger and thirst for righteousness….(Matthew 5:3-11)
See the one who touches the lame, the crippled and the blind; the one who speaks words of forgiveness and encouragement; the one who dies alone, rejected, and despised. Keep your eyes on him who becomes poor with the poor, weak with the weak, and who is rejected with the rejected. That one, Jesus, is the source of all peace. (Henri JM Nouwen)
There are Christians whose lives seem like Lent without Easter. I realize of course that joy is not expressed the same way at all times in life, especially at moments of great difficulty. Joy adapts and changes, but it always endures, even as a flicker of light born in our personal certainty that, when everything is said and done, we are infinitely loved. (Pope Francis, The Joy of the Gospel)
There is a longing in the hearts of all who follow the Charity way to become the peace we yearn for. Vincent, Louise, Elizabeth Ann lived lives of amazing peace in the midst of turmoil, strife, war. What was their secret? They included everyone and everything within the circles of their lives. They were peace to all they encountered. We pray in the first decades of a millennium already marked with the blood of countless victims of terror, famine, genocide:
“Blessed Peacemaker, come to our aid as we struggle with all the ways we lack peace in our own hearts and homes. Guide us to that place deep within where you wait for us in the silence; where your gift of peace resides. Lamb of God, dona nobis pacem!” (Sr. Mary McCormick, SC, “Peace, Re-Imagined,” from her book, Belonging)