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Connecting the Lenten journey with Easter joy and Divine Mercy                                      

by Juliana Valdez

During the recently concluded season of Lent, we journeyed through increased prayer, fasting, abstinence and almsgiving in order to have a more meaningful Lenten experience. With the praying of the Stations of the Cross, Jesus’ Passion was reflected on and the comparison of the activities at each station facilitated personal introspection about our own dealings with each other, such as:

Do we condemn others to mental and spiritual deaths, bearing false witness do we place crosses on others, do we trample others, beating them into the ground when they fall, etc.? Or, were we encouraged to make the effort to be like Simon of Cyrene or Veronica in someone’s life, etc.?

Then came Holy Thursday where we were reminded that the Source and Summit of our faith, the Holy Eucharist, the Holy Priesthood and their life of service to God’s people were instituted on that faithful night and the foundation of our faith was laid.

Then came the celebration of the Resurrection and the outpouring of the Divine Mercy of the Risen Christ; the television programmes from EWTN and Trinity Network on all these events, facilitated knowledge, faith renewal and the re-enforcement of the traditions and teaching of our Holy Mother Church.

Now that we continue with our daily activities, we have the opportunity to put into practice all that we would have experienced as we journeyed through Lent, and it is hoped that we have been spiritually rejuvenated, inspired and energised to make a difference through our involvement in the various ministries in our parishes.

Many programmes on the Feast of the Divine Mercy, its origins through St Faustina, her life and encounters with Jesus, and how the Church has been obedient to the commands of Jesus through the records in the saint’s diaries, all facilitating better understanding of the “whys” of the Divine Mercy.

Of particular interest to me however, were the testimonies of those who shared about how devotion to the Divine Mercy transformed their lives. I was so intrigued by their stories that I failed to note all the names, the only one I remember clearly was Immaculee, the survivor of the Rwanda genocide.

But there was a baseball player who gave up a life of fortune and fame to become a priest; another left a lucrative career to become a missionary, ministering to the homeless on the streets; another, a pregnant wife whose husband was gunned down by a sixteen year old; and yet another police officer, shot in the line of duty by another teenaged perpetrator and left paralysed from his neck down.

In the case of the wife, she shared her husband was always devoted to the Divine Mercy. Both she and the former police officer shared how the devotion helped them to forgive the perpetrators.

Immaculee told of praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy hundreds of times during her ordeal and how it enabled her too, to pray for those who killed her entire family and thousands of members of her tribe, bringing her to the point where she could forgive them.

The message therefore for us is to allow what we have experienced during the Lenten season to fuel our efforts to live the commands of Jesus which encourages us to love, show mercy and compassion, forgive, pray for others and tirelessly work in the vineyard of the Lord.

As we sing and rejoice, chanting our “Alleluias” let us be mindful of the sacrifice Jesus made that we might have life and the continued outpouring of His mercy which endures for ever.

Our Saviour lives!