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19 March

Shukla with her six-year-old son.

As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

John 9:5

Today, the Church celebrates Laetare Sunday. Laetare means ‘to rejoice’ or ‘to be joyful’ and there is much to celebrate in our readings today. In drawing close to Jesus, the Light of the World, we can come to see things anew.

It is also Mothering Sunday, so we celebrate mothers everywhere, and pray for all who have nurtured us.

Shukla, a young widowed mother from southern Bangladesh who experienced a time of great darkness, now has much to celebrate. Her husband’s death left her depressed and withdrawn, until a community group, the Bangladesh Association for Sustainable Development, gently encouraged her to join their meetings.

“I am extremely grateful to BASD,” Shukla says. “My life was plunged into darkness until they brought me into the light, and it was by holding their hands that I stepped into this new phase in my life. It feels like I’ve been through a really long journey.”

Shukla now has a flourishing garden of fruit and vegetables. Her six-year-old son loves to join her in planting flowers and watering trees. She has a newfound confidence, helping others to learn the skills she has gained and seeking especially to empower other women: “I used to be very quiet and I was scared of talking to people, and now I can talk to anyone.”

As Christians, we are called not to be blind to injustice and suffering. Instead, like the neighbours who reached out to Shukla, we should open our eyes and seek to encourage and support others. This Lent, let’s pray that our gift of faith will illumine our hearts and minds to walk in God’s ways as ‘children of light’.

Lent prayer

Jesus, Light of the World,
give me eyes to see injustice
and to recognise you 
in my sisters and brothers.
Give me eyes of wisdom,
to know how to respond
to the needs of the world. 


Light a candle and say a prayer to shine a light of hope in our world.

Light a candle

Just like lighting a candle in church, you can light a candle on our online votive stand to pray for someone who is in your heart.