Lent calendar prayer and reflection for 12 April

An elderly man and an elderly woman gaze into each other's eyes, in Aleppo Syria.

Camilla, a widow, and Jules, a widower, live together in Aleppo, Syria. They have given each other comfort and support throughout the war.

“The waves of death rose about me; the torrents of destruction assailed me; the snares of the grave entangled me; the traps of death confronted me.” 

Psalm 17:2-7 R Cf v 7

The psalmist’s words convey the sense of terror he is experiencing. Everything seems overwhelming and he sees no way out. But his voice is heard by God. As the response to the psalm says, “In my distress I called upon the Lord; and he heard my voice.”  

One of the most dispiriting experiences for anyone who has experienced a difficult or dangerous situation is when they feel that no one is listening. Just having someone listen and attend to your fears and concerns can make a big difference to how you feel. 

Take time to listen

In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis reminds us of the importance of spending time with people and being truly present to them in the moment: 

“We are speaking of an attitude of the heart, one which approaches life with serene attentiveness, which is capable of being fully present to someone without thinking of what comes next, which accepts each moment as a gift from God to be lived to the full.  

“Jesus taught us this attitude when he invited us to contemplate the lilies of the field and the birds of the air, or when seeing the rich young man and knowing his restlessness, ‘he looked at him with love’ (Mk 10:21)”. #221 

Pope Francis speaks too of the role of technology in creating distractions for us. Are we tempted, instead of listening and being attentive to others, to check our mobile instead? 

Rather than admonishing us for this, he points out that we are missing the immense joy of human connectedness, and the opportunity to revel in wonder at the rest of creation.  

Instead of listening to the waterfall, are we too busy taking photos? Let us calm our minds and give ourselves up to the sounds around us.

Lent prayer

Loving, merciful Lord, grant us the capacity to be quiet and to listen. May we be open to the wonders around us. Lead us to the joy of being fully present to others and hearing their story. Let us look with love and gratitude on the world around us and open our hearts to those in need. Amen.

Act

Watch and meditate with Pope Francis’s beautiful prayer from Laudato Si’ set to music and images. 

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