Lent calendar prayer and reflection for 28 March

Nermin, originally from Syria, now works as a project manager on a peace project in Lebanon.

Nermin, originally from Syria, now works as a project manager on a peace project in Lebanon.

Go into the matter and see for yourself: prophets do not come out of Galilee.

John 7:52

The chief priests and Pharisees in today’s gospel had already decided that no prophet could possibly come from Galilee, so they were not open to hear Nicodemus encourage them to find out more about Jesus.

During Lent we concentrate hard on making changes. But habits take a long time to change, because our thought patterns become very fixed and our mind takes short cuts towards what it already knows.

Only by practising doing different things can our brains learn that another route is possible.

Many of us struggle with the temptation to make harsh judgements about other people’s lives, without really knowing what they are facing. Like the chief priests and Pharisees, we may be judgemental of those who come from a different place, if we do not go and find out for ourselves.

Refugees and migrants often face such judgements.

A human story of debt

Nermin is a young Syrian woman, now living in Lebanon because of the civil war in her own country.

“I was born and raised in Syria, so it is very different here… it is also difficult because I don’t have anyone here from my relatives – they all live in Syria. My father refuses to leave our house in Syria behind because he is scared of losing it.”

Lebanon is hosting well over a million Syrian refugees, despite high levels of poverty and unemployment among its own population. There are often tensions.

Nermin told us that she has noticed many Lebanese people struggling with the differences in mindset between Lebanese and Syrians: “You can see everything from the outside, but it can be very different when you go into the situation and live it.”

Now Nermin works as a project manager on a peace project run by part of our global Caritas network: “It is really important for me to participate in activities because I want to change other people’s opinions and give the range of opinions about Syrian people.”

Lent prayer

Lord, teach me to search for understanding rather than to make harsh or immediate judgements. Remind me that I do not always know what someone is facing in their life. May I practise the habit of supporting rather than blaming. Amen.

Act

Watch our Lent prayer video as we ask God to heal our hearts of all that prevents us responding to our sisters and brothers in poverty.

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