Today, Ash Wednesday, we begin the season of Lent. It is a season associated with prayer, fasting and almsgiving, which is in effect ‘compassion in action’. The MIA Vision proclaims that ‘God’s gracious and compassionate Mercy is the wellspring, the source of never failing supply, for all those who cherish and seek to live out the gift of Mercy’ and that the vision itself ‘keeps alive the founding spirit of Catherine among people of the world most in need of God’s compassion and mercy’. This year the Mercy International Association’s Lenten Luncheon series will focus on Mercy Global Action’s two major themes. These themes - Opposing Human Trafficking and Cosmology and Eco Justice - will be presented in a theological reflection process. Each week, we will provide on-line, some materials presented at these meeting so that those who wish can share in the series, even if they cannot attend in person.
Here are some other ideas, that are related to our themes, which you might like to consider:
Read and reflect on Quantum Grace: Lenten Reflections on Creation and Connectedness by Judy Cannato (Ave Maria Press, 2003). Speaking of these reflections, Diarmuid O’Murchu says: ‘Lent is a time not for giving up but for taking on, a time to be re-connected with a heart that has been made tender by truth. Contrary to an asceticism that diminishes, Quantum Grace invites us to an aestheticism that enlarges the horizons of our journey into God’.
Consider ways in which you can attend to eco-justice in your own reality. Eco-justice is about assuring justice for creation and all species that live in it. Our call to eco-justice is rooted in the human vocation of tilling and keeping the garden (Genesis 2:15) and Christ’s teachings to work on behalf of the most vulnerable, for environmental impacts are felt most by those living in poverty. The more we do our part to till and keep the garden, the more we work for eco-justice. Lent is an ideal time to engage the spiritual discipline of refraining from some practices that damage God’s earth, and taking action that will honour Christ’s teachings about caring for creation. If you would like to get some practical ideas how you might commit to a daily action during Lent on the issues of waste, energy, water, consumption, and food, visit the website ‘Treading Lightly for Lent’. Scroll down and follow the calendar of challenges for each day of Lent. You may need to adjust them to your reality but there are some good ideas there which you can adapt.
Opposing Human Trafficking
During Lent, you may wish to prayerfully reflect on the reality of human trafficking and on our/your response to it.
UNANIMA International have prepared 6 wonderful prayer services for each week of Lent on the theme of Opposing Human Trafficing. UNANIMA International is a non-governmental organization (NGO) advocating on behalf of women and children (particularly those living in poverty), immigrants and refugees, and the environment. Their work takes place primarily at the United Nations headquarters in New York, On the ground, their unique membership consists of 17 congregations of Roman Catholic sisters whose 17,500 constituents work in 72 countries. They bring their voices, concerns, and experiences as educators, health care providers, social workers, and development workers to the United Nations.
Mercy Global Action works alongside UNANIMA at the UN and serves on committees with them.
The following are the links to the prayer services.
Lent Prayers on the Theme of Human Trafficking: Week 1 (PDF)
Lent Prayers on the Theme of Human Trafficking: Week 2 (PDF)
Lent Prayers on the Theme of Human Trafficking: Week 3 (PDF)
Lent Prayers on the Theme of Human Trafficking: Week 4 (PDF)
Lent Prayers on the Theme of Human Trafficking: Week 5 (PDF)
Lent Prayers on the Theme of Human Trafficking: Week 6 (PDF)
Rosary Meditations on the Theme of Human Trafficking (PDF)
You might also like to visit the UNANIMA website
Messages to Mary Reynolds rsm