20200226 Ash WednesdayA

Lent is a time of choices.  We usually think about what we are going to give up for Lent.  We usually give up chocolate, sweets, alcohol or some other pleasure.  We ask others “What are you giving up for Lent?”  It is a time for preparation to remind us of the suffering and sacrifice of Jesus’ death.  He loved so much that he died for our sins; each and everyone of us. 

God made us in his image, so we have the ability to make choices.  We can decide to let Jesus into our hearts or to reject him and shut him out of our lives. 

There is a painting of Jesus standing at the door, knocking to be let into our hearts.  The is no doorknob so we are the ones that need to open the door so Jesus can enter.  The message is that we must open the door to Jesus, he will not force his way into our lives. 

I believe that even though the door is locked from the inside due to bitterness of hurtful actions by others or the depths of despair in our lives, Jesus can still provide a ray of Hope in our hearts.  Hope that there is something better in the future.  Hope that this is not the end.  When we hit rock bottom and think it can’t get worse, God’s grace can provide a glimmer of hope in our darkest night. 

I came upon this song by chance and have played it many times since then. 

Eric Clapton wrote the song Holy Mother in the depths of despair.  He explained on Facebook the inspiration to write this song.  “In the ’80s, I was out on the road in a massive downward spiral with drink and drugs.  I saw Purple Rain in a cinema in Canada. I had no idea who he was.  It was like a bolt of lightning!  In the middle of my depression, and the dreadful state of the music culture at that time it gave me hope.  He was like a light in the darkness.  I went back to my hotel and, surrounded by empty beer cans, wrote Holy Mother.” 

In his book “Clapton” he says “It was like a moment of clarity when I saw the absolute squalidness of my life at that moment.  I began to write a song called “Holy Mother,” in which I asked for help from a divine source, a female that I couldn’t even begin to identify. I still love that song, because I recognize that it came from deep in my heart as a sincere cry for help.” 

Eric was raised in the Church of England so he would have known about our Blessed Mother even if he couldn’t put a name or face with the female divine source he referred to in the song. 

In moments of despair, our hearts still yearn for God.  That desperate need for something to hope in lets Jesus enter. 

So many people are hurting.  Maybe from the death of a loved one, from the hurt of harsh words or bullying, from our own self doubt or feeling inferior to others.  Yes, Lent is a time of self-sacrifice to remind us of the suffering of our Lord for us.  It is a time to ponder the hurt within those around us and within our own lives. 

Lent is also be a time to choose good, to help others.  In addition to our normal ‘giving up’ for Lent, let us also take action to share God’s love with others. 

One way we could take action is to pray a Rosary for those who are lost in despair.  Someone who is contemplating suicide or so lost within that they have nowhere to turn.  Let us ask our Blessed Mother to intercede for us with her son for them and for us that we will be a beacon of hope to others in their darkest night. 

Let us also pray that we will never contribute to someone’s despair because of the way we live, because our actions are mean and hateful, because we were too busy doing good works for outward show and praise like the Pharisees that we failed to notice a person silently suffering in the pain of depression and despair. 

Jesus not only suffered for us, but he rose from the dead to give us new life.  His resurrection gives us hope that we can rejoice with him in heaven for all eternity.  Through his death and resurrection, we begin to live a different life; one that serves God sincerely from our hearts and brings God’s love and hope to others. 

As we pray a rosary during Lent for those who are suffering from depression and despair, we should include our own pain and hurt. 

Let’s pray to our Blessed Mother together for her intercession especially during this Lenten Season:
Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. 

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