March 2016
Reflections of God's Goodness

We continue to meditate on God’s mercy as we move through Lent toward the glory of Easter resurrection. What would help us see and enter into the glory of Easter more fully? Pope Francis has invited us to consider works of mercy.

In this penitential season, perhaps we can forgive offences willingly and bear wrongs patiently. At first glance, these may not seem too difficult. I think about the pace of life as I move through my week. Wherever I go, people are rushing around, multi-tasking to the max, hardly taking time to breathe much less notice how we are responding to the people we encounter.

Lent is a time to notice. How easily do we forgive when someone hurts our feelings or lets us down in some way? An easy response of course is to respond with anger, but what does mercy call for. In order to forgive others, we cannot defend ourselves, but instead must lay aside those hurt feelings and pray for grace to see that person and that action in light of God’s love and mercy towards us.

Only as we contemplate how God bears with us and how patiently God waits for us, can we begin to understand how we are to love others through forgiveness and patience.

Forgiveness is not about denying hurt or condoning wrong doing. Forgiveness is an act of the will. We can will to forgive another person and something changes. Not everything changes—but the process of forgiveness has begun and almost immediately we can sense an openness to another that wasn’t there in our moment of anger, hurt, and unforgiveness.

I am sure you have heard before that unforgiveness, or the unwillingness to forgive is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die! When our hurt causes us to close up, it’s like putting a dirty bandage on an open wound. The chance of infection rises. When we refuse to forgive, our hardness of heart will begin to infect other relationships and areas of our life.

I invite you to choose freedom…to choose forgiveness…to choose love. I invite you to notice your own response and choose mercy.

God's mercy can make even the driest land
become a garden,
can restore life to dry bones (cf. Ez 37:1-14)
…Let us be renewed by God's mercy,
let us be loved by Jesus,
let us enable the power of his love
to transform our lives too…

Pope Francis, Easter Urbi et Orbi message on March 31, 2013

May this transforming love of Christ bring us to Easter joy!

Easter Blessings,

Sister Mary Ann Barnhorn's signature 

Sister Mary Ann Barnhorn, SNDdeN
Director of Development

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