To choose life
- is to choose God.
To choose God is to love.
Rome, Lent 2021
On the threshold of Lent, the liturgy of the Church puts us before a fundamental choice. In a passage from Deuteronomy we read: "Look! Today I am setting before you life and happiness, death and misfortune. (...) Today I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you, I am setting before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Therefore choose life" (Dt 30:15, 19). Choose life! What does it mean? How can we do that? What is life?
To choose life is to choose God: "Today I command you to love the Lord your God and walk in His ways, obeying His commands, laws and regulations, so that you may live ..." (Dt 30:16). To choose God is to love Him, it is to enter with Him into a communion of thoughts and desires, it is to trust Him, entrust ourselves to Him and walk in His ways. It is to take the cross and lose our life because of Jesus. Only in giving our own life will we find the way that leads to finding ourselves and finding life. The stories of many people, many saints show that the more they were able to give themselves, forget about themselves, the greater and richer their lives became.
This is in a special way Christ, who stands before us: a simple and humble servant who humbled himself by becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross (Phil 2: 8). Let the suffering Lord, in the mystery of his Passion, Death and Resurrection, open our hearts to life, so that - as Pope Francis says - we may be more vigilant to use "words of encouragement that calm, strengthen, give comfort, stimulate; and not words, which humiliate, sadden, irritate, despise" (cf. Fratelli Tutti, 223). Sometimes, in order to give hope, it is enough to be "a kind person, who sets aside his/her fears and haste, to draw attention to someone, to give a smile, to say a word that would encourage him, lift him up, to allow a listening space in the midst of great indifference" (224).
Dear Sisters, the 40-day Lenten journey toward the joy of the Resurrection is not only a desert time, but above all a time of closeness to God. May Mary - the handmaid of the Lord, who standing next to the cross of Jesus, found life by losing it - accompany us in this journey with her maternal love. May anew revives in us the desire of St. Vincent Pallotti in serving others: I would like to become food to satisfy the hungry, clothing to clothe the naked, drink to refresh the thirsty, soothing liquor to strengthen the stomach of the weak, with delicate fluff, to bring relief to weakened, tired members, to bring health with medicine to remedy the sick, maimed, lame, the deaf and the dumb, with light for the illumination of the blind, in spirit and body, with life to bring all the dead creatures to life through God's grace ...
United in adoration of the Crucified Christ,
Sr. Izabela Świerad SAC