Every year, the Lenten Season is our opportunity to pause, remember the path of Christ, and reflect on ways through which we can follow Him. Our reflection is even more important this year as we are surrounded by modern challenges to our faith, both at the personal and global levels. So alongside our Gospel meditations, we ponder on some relevant real-world topics and what we can do about them as Holy Week 2019 approaches.
1. How can I help the poor?
Today, "the poor" includes not only those who are begging on the streets, but also those who are refugees, migrant workers, the elderly, the homeless, the abused, and the discriminated against. When we look at large-scale suffering around the world, it's easy to feel that we are unable to help them.
While it is true that we can't change the world overnight, we can provide relief to those we can reach. Easing just one pain could mean the world to the sufferer. What are some concrete actions we can take to provide this relief?
2. How can I deepen my marriage?
The technological advances of our century have provided us with fast and easy ways to connect with people -- but is this what makes a relationship? This Lenten season, we are invited as married Christians to get in touch with our husband or wife -- in person, patiently, without selfishness or unkind motivations.
3. What is Lent to my children?
The somber tone of the Holy Week may not hold your child's attention for long, and that is natural. As Christian parents, we must translate the message of Lent in a way that our children embrace it. We can start by using stories, symbols, and activities that capture their imagination. The Online Ministries at Creighton University offers some helpful suggestions for families during Lent.
4. How can I be a Christian in the face of church controversies?
Christian churches around the world have been at the center of many controversies, such as allegations of discrimination and sexual abuse. This puts us, the faithful, at a difficult position. But the good leaders of our faith have shown us examples of how to humbly acknowledge the shortcomings of the human church and to lovingly keep readjusting and moving forward as pilgrim Christians. Bishop Pat Power expounds on this in his hopeful article.
5. How do I reconcile with a loved one who sinned?
The cleansing of sins is a primary theme of the Holy Week. We focus, of course, on our inner repentance, our own reconciliation with the Savior. But how about our friends or family members who wish to reconcile with us after they have done wrong?
The message of Pope Francis for Lent 2019 provides a deep reminder on the healing power not only of repentance but of forgiveness. It invites us to embody Christ's mystery in our family and social lives. This means we must forgive others just as Jesus has forgiven us.
We at Christian Style hope to reflect with you on these topics this Lent, and we look forward to seeing you again, renewed and re-energized in faith, after the Holy Week.