“Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness; in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense. Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me.”
Psalm Chapter 51, verses 3-4
Today is the first Sunday of Lent… and as some poets might say, the first day of the rest of our lives. Time to get on with the work of personal reckoning—acknowledging our sins and shortcomings, and seeking forgiveness. But it’s work of the most rewarding kind.
Because we are missioners, each of us has a great desire to connect with God and be renewed in the compassion of Our Lord. So the first thing we can do in our Lenten journey is acknowledge our limitations. Even our flaws. And definitely our sins. Lent gives us the mental space to do that—and the comfort of knowing that the faithful person next door—and believers all over the world—are seeking a deeper relationship with God, too.
When we take these first few steps toward renewal, the world changes. We change! We don’t just seek forgiveness. We give it as well and that’s when healing replaces pain. Take a minute now to think how it would feel to be free of some burden in your life just by saying, “I’m sorry…” or “I forgive you.”
Friend, when we seek forgiveness from God, it’s a good idea to be forgiving in our own lives. And don’t forget: that even means being able to forgive yourself. Make room for God this Lent in all the ways that are meaningful to you and I know the blessings of renewal will follow. That is the gift of Lent.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Father Raymond J. Finch, M.M.
Prayer for 1st Sunday of Lent
Cleanse me, O Lord, from my sins
and wash away my guilt.
Help me overcome ego and pride
and give me the strength and courage
to say “I’m sorry” and “I forgive You.”
Protect me from my unknown faults
so I might truly walk in Your ways
and know the fullness of joy
in Your presence forever.
Lord, lead me through the desert
during these forty days of Lent.
Help me let go of everything
that does not come from You
nor lead me back to You.
Accept, dear Jesus, my small sacrifices and service
to honor You and help others discover Your
beauty, love, and truth.
Prayer by Maryknoll Missioner, Father Joseph Veneroso