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Anna Mae Yu Lamentillo

Mar 27, 2024

‘To act also means to pause’

“It is time to act, and in Lent, to act also means to pause. To pause in prayer, in order to receive the word of God, to pause like the Samaritan in the presence of a wounded brother or sister.” — Pope Francis

Amid a very fast-moving society and a rapidly changing world, oftentimes we forget to pause — not the self-care breaks we take once in a while to refresh our minds and bodies, but a contemplative pause that will revitalize our spirits.

With all the things we need to accomplish, a day is usually lacking; a week comes by fleeting; the months change even before we fully grasp what season we are in; and before we know it, a year has passed once more.

Life is happening too fast that we often see ourselves just going with the flow, sometimes without fully understanding what we want to achieve, and if that goal is the one that will lead us to the path of freedom from slavery.

In his Lenten message, Pope Francis likens our journey in life as to that of the people of Israel who were freed from Egypt by God through Moses, but whose thoughts are still enslaved by the Pharoah: “Just as Israel in the desert still clung to Egypt – often longing for the past and grumbling against the Lord and Moses – today too, God’s people can cling to an oppressive bondage that it is called to leave behind.”

The Pope asks Catholics to pause as a form of action. He says that prayer, almsgiving and fasting are part of “a single movement of openness and self-emptying, in which we cast out the idols that weigh us down, the attachments that imprison us.”

This pause is necessary for us to examine our lives, how we have been living it, and how our actions or inaction affect our neighbors, our community, and the world that we live in.

We need to counter what the Pope describes as the “globalization of indifference” by listening to these two questions: “Where are you?” and “Where is your brother?”

Our world has advanced so much, so rapidly, yet wars continue to be fought and the victims remain to be those who are innocent; hunger and poverty persists even if we have created so many ways to produce food in an instant; we have developed technologies that can detect storms and defend our communities from the impacts of disasters, but they just keep on becoming stronger, which ironically is also the effect of our own doing; we are benefitting so much from the bounties of nature, only to repay it with destruction.

We have designed so many cutting-edge technologies that revolutionized the way we live, but have we really made life easier, or did we just made it look easier? Have we really improved our quality of life,or did we only make it move faster that we fail to realize what life really is?

This Holy Week, as we remember how the Lord made the supreme sacrifice to save us from our sins, let us reflect if we have been living a life worthy of that sacrifice.

Let us find inspiration and comfort in the words of the Pope: “The contemplative dimension of life that Lent helps us to rediscover will release new energies. In the presence of God, we become brothers and sisters, more sensitive to one another: in place of threats and enemies, we discover companions and fellow travelers. This is God’s dream, the promised land to which we journey once we have left our slavery behind.”

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