February 2017: Our Mission to Transform the World
This month's free reflections are taken from
To Love and Serve
Our Mission to Transform the World
Daily Reflections with The Message for Lent 2017
Gregory F. Augustine Pierce
Have you thought about trying a new prayer practice for Lent? To Love and Serve is intended to give you food for thought and invite God’s movement into your heart. It uses an excerpt from the daily Mass readings from The Message as a starting place for a short reflection and suggestion for action.
Many people find their prayer time more fruitful if they set aside time at the same place each day. Perhaps you’ll want to reflect on the day’s reading before getting out of bed, over your morning cup of coffee, on your daily commute, before class, or upon retiring for the night. Make a commitment to find a time and place that works for you, even if it takes some experimentation. Consider asking a friend, family member, or fellow church member to accompany you, discussing each day’s reading and reflection together, offering support and encouragement, and holding each other accountable as you respond to God’s invitation.
The theme for To Love and Serve is based on the words of dismissal from Mass: “Go in peace, to love and serve the Lord.” So often we hear this “Sending Forth” and answer it with a perfunctory “Thanks be to God,” when we should be reflecting on the meaning and difficulty of the universal vocation of all baptized Christians to help bring about what Jesus called “the kingdom of God” in our daily work; with our families, loved ones, and neighbors; and in our community and civic involvement.
This month we offer two sample reflections from To Love and Serve. If this approach appeals to you, order your copy today—only $1.25 each—to receive it by Ash Wednesday (March 1).
March 3, 2017 / Friday after Ash Wednesday
BREAKING THE CHAINS OF INJUSTICE
“This is the kind of fast day I’m after:
to break the chains of injustice,
get rid of exploitation in the workplace,
free the oppressed,
What I’m interested in seeing you do is:
sharing your food with the hungry,
inviting the homeless poor into your homes,
putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad,
being available to your own families.
Do this and the lights will turn on,
and your lives will turn around at once.” — Isaiah 58:6-8
This is what true sacrifice for Lent means: We need to “get rid of exploitation in the workplace, free the oppressed, cancel debts.” That’s a pretty tall order for most of us. Is it realistic? Absolutely not. But only when we try will the “lights turn on” and our lives “turn around.” It’s an impossible task when we try this alone, but together as a community—with the help of the Holy Spirit—we can make a difference this Lent.
Investigate today what your church or community group or employer is doing to help “break the chains of injustice” in your neighborhood, town, state, country, or world. Join one of those efforts. If they are not being effective enough, get some friends together and start a committee to work on one issue that needs to be addressed. See how far you can get in forty days of self-sacrifice.
Sunday, March 12 / Second Week of Lent
THE SPIRITUALITY OF WORK
Take your share of suffering for the Message along with the rest of us. We can only keep on going, after all, by the power of God, who first saved us and then called us to this holy work. We had nothing to do with it. It was all his idea, a gift prepared for us in Jesus long before we knew anything about it. But we know it now. Since the appearance of our Savior, nothing could be plainer: death defeated, life vindicated in a steady blaze of light, all through the work of Jesus. — 2 Timothy 1:8-10
We all have work to do, no matter what our job or jobs, even those of us who are retired, or unemployed, or underemployed, or students, or parents, or grandparents. All work can be holy, if it is done in conjunction with our Savior. Work is part of God’s plan, “a gift prepared for us in Jesus long before we knew anything about it.” Through our holy work, life is “vindicated in a steady blaze of light, all through the work of Jesus.”
Make up and write down a prayer thanking God for all the work you have done, are doing, and will do to make the world a better place. Share your prayer with a good friend.
About the author
Greg Pierce is a nationally-respected writer and speaker on the lay vocation and the spirituality of work. He has written several books on the subject, including The World as It Should Be: Living Authentically in the Here-and-Now Kingdom of God, and is the recipient of the Hillenbrand Award for Social Justice from the Center for Development in Ministry of the Archdiocese of Chicago and an Outstanding Service Award from the Association of Catholic Publishers. He has written for many periodicals, including the National Catholic Reporter, Ministry and Liturgy, and Initiatives, and wrote a column called “Faith and Work” for many years that was syndicated in several diocesan newspapers
Greg is a graduate of Maryknoll College, a past president of the National Center for the Laity, and a leader in United Power for Action and Justice. He has been the publisher of ACTA Publications in Chicago for the last thirty years. He and his wife Kathy, a long-time Catholic elementary school teacher, have three young-adult children.
Other titles for Lent
Working Toward Sainthood: Daily Reflections for Lent by Alice Camille
A Contemporary Way of the Cross by Father William John Fitzgerald
Seven Last Words…Lenten Reflections for Today’s Believer by Alice Camille
When Silence Falls: The Stations of the Cross by Anna Burke
Find The Message: Catholic Ecumenical Edition
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