Daily Meditation for March 20, 2020

The Lenten season can trigger some rather negative images and thoughts, if allowed. After all, who normally is upbeat about cutting out or reducing sweets, entertainment and other self-indulgent goodies? One can feel quite the martyr! However, Lent can be upbeat if we consider it a time to come closer to God through a freedom from things—especially self-will. St. John Vianney, a parish priest in 19th century France, put it succinctly: “God does not require of us the martyrdom of the body; He requires only the martyrdom of the heart and the will.” Perhaps we can say some kind words to a person we don’t particularly like, smile at someone who looks or sounds unhappy, refrain from a sharp response to a grievance—all actions which do not come easily. Some commentators refer to this behavior as “white martyrdom”—and let us pray that God helps us achieve it.

By Carol Berg, OSB