Lent calendar prayer and reflection for 6 April
“One of them, Nicodemus – the same man who had come to Jesus earlier – said to them, ‘But surely the Law does not allow us to pass judgement on a man without giving him a hearing and discovering what he is about?’”
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.
We become different only by practising doing different things so that our brains know another route is possible.
Something many of us struggle with is that we are tempted to make harsh judgements about other people’s lives, without really knowing what they are facing.
People who are excluded – like refugees, poor or disabled people – often face such judgements. Or people who fall into debt.
A human story of debt
Monica’s home in a small town in Bangladesh was damaged by a cyclone and she has ended up in debt trying to rebuild it.
“There’s a lot of tension in my life,” she admits. “I’m in debt to different organisations and I will need to buy rice every day. I think about money all the time. So often we face different troubles and difficulties.
“There’s a lot of tension over how we pay for our children’s education. Over how we get enough money for rice and vegetables. Over how we manage to meet our debt payments.
“Sometimes I think about all the good foods I should be providing for my family, but I don’t know how to get them because I have no money...I’m worried every day. How are we going to cope?
“Today is the day we have to pay one of the instalments of our loan. My son asked for more food, but I told him we need money for the loan. We’ll manage a bigger meal another day.
“It makes me sad. I feel bad. My child wants something, and I can’t give it to him. Even though my husband earns regularly and works hard every day, it’s not enough.”
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.
Try this Latin American prayer as a step-by-step guide on what to give up this Lent – can you give up judging others, harsh words, unhappiness?