I sketched this image yesterday before the morning Masses. I am really struck by this face because he represents a man who has spent this lifetime doing the work of prayer. The hard work of living every aspect of life shows on his face. His wrinkles reveal discouragement and sadness and the weariness of his perseverance. However, there is also a real and authentic trust that settles into his expressions. I see myself in him but he also reveals to me the many faces of people who struggle to make ends meet, those who work so hard to forgive themselves, those who are unsettled in their life decisions, and those who are looking to God for help because they finally realize they cannot fix their unfortunate situations. He reminds me that we all need God.
The gospel today (Luke 6: 36-38) gets to the core of our Lenten journey:
Jesus said to tis disciples: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and your will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you; good measure, packed together, shaken down and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”
The work of forgiveness is real. The work of mercy is God’s work within us. However, I am not saying that any of this spiritual work is easy. In fact, the work of forgiveness might just be the most important job we will ever have. This work may even settle into every wrinkle on our skin. Persevere in you spiritual tasks of forgiveness in all of your relationships. Persevere in this Lenten journey. Your rewards will be authentic and everlasting.