Animate Youth Ministries team coordinator Lauren reflects on her Lenten mission to get closer to others as well as to God.
"If anyone decides to sue you and take your coat, let them have your cloak as well, and whoever forces you to go one mile, go with them a second also. Give to whoever begs, and do not turn away anyone wishing to borrow from you." (Matthew 5: 40–42)
This feels like quite a fitting passage to lead us into this time of Lent. After all, for me Lent is a time not only for self-renewal but also to really consider the needs of other people around me. This means, for instance, accepting whatever suffering or conflict may arise for the sake of peace, and placing them into the Lord's hands. Is it not better to give sometimes to that undeserving individual than to turn away the person who is really in need?
When Jesus sacrificed himself for us, we might also have been classified as undeserving individuals ... it is the Lord who has shown us how to place others before ourselves. This is the challenge I am given this Lent. Therefore, during these 40 days and nights, I will be thinking about my own self-discovery; I will be thinking about who Jesus is to me and who I am to Jesus. I will be preparing myself, through Confession and adoration, for the Resurrection of the Lord.
I have come to recognise that this time is not just for myself. Jesus did not go to the desert for Himself. He went for us. In the same way I should come to recognise that this Lenten journey is for us all. We all prepare in our own ways, but we come together as one at the end of this journey. I pray, therefore, that this Lent I will learn not to turn away from others, but to allow myself to be brought closer to others by God's love and mercy.
• If you are looking for things to do in Lent to help grow closer to the Lord, you are welcome to join us at Life and Soul+. This is a time of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament with an opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. During this time, passages of Scripture will be read aloud followed by short reflections, and there will also be music and the opportunity to sing hymns of praise. The event is led by the Animate team but people of all ages are very welcome. The next edition is at Holy Family Church, Southport on Wednesday 15 March (7–8pm).
• Our next Youth Alive Mass is on Palm Sunday, 9 April from 6.30pm at SS Peter and Paul Church, Apostles Way, Kirkby.