This year’s season of Lent is a celebration that is overwhelmingly different from the preceding years. I started this Lent just like all faithful Catholics do, committing to traditions like fasting, prayer, and penance. For myself, I could tell that everything seems to be well. Just as I thought would be another Lent to look forward to remembering Jesus’s sacrifice; a series of unfortunate events happened and have buffeted many of us. We became scared upon learning that much in the flows of our communities have been highly affected by this crisis, causing a lot of damage, demobilization, and instabilities in different aspects of our lives. From that, I also fear for my family, friends, and loved ones for their safety and security. I also found myself in a deep unease knowing that everyone is vulnerable to being harmed including myself, and then I felt this unwanted emptiness knowing that I may also fail God.
It was also followed by a much bigger challenge on how could I maintain myself in a state of grace in the business of loving God and other people – knowing that this is what I am called to do. So much of all the troubles that I am experiencing, I can’t help but ask, “Is everything really at hand, Lord?” However, as much as I tremble about the things that are happening, I also have this asserting feeling that somehow speaks to all my distrusts, that “God is still good and that his love never really changes”. It had me with great relief for some while, but what I am about to realize will be much greater than I thought.
In this time of quarantine, I’m grateful for all the opportunities online that I can still be able to connect with my brothers and sisters in the community, to look for one another and share common realizations of God’s goodness in this time of crisis. I also had the freedom to experience Lenten reflections based on what is available provided by our loving Faithfuls in the Church. It’s just from all these things I realized that God is good and nothing can stop him from loving us. Yet, I started noticing about something more compelling, that all these good things seem to point me to something extraordinary, pure, and gracious – the personhood of Jesus Christ, crucified at the cross. It was a moment filled with emotions and awe when I realized how God’s sorrowful passion at the Cross poses a parallel reflection of what the world is experiencing right now. At this moment I realized that I must have missed the point of the sole purpose of this Lenten season, to celebrate the greatest expression of love. I remember that Jesus Christ had to die for the sake of our salvation, the same way that in times like these, we share the same compassion, solidarity, and hope, that there should be a loving sacrifice for the greater good – thus bringing out the best in us.
It was such a unique moment to ponder and a great way to celebrate. I realized that God wants me to go deeper. I knew that this season of Lent is not really about my comfort, but with great conversion by experiencing the mysteries of suffering as God’s revelation of miracles to all of us. I look forward to the day that we get to hear the stories of our shared resurrection, just like what Jesus Christ did to the cross, passionately sacrificing himself without ceasing to bring us back where we belong, that is in His loving presence.
Von Ivan Abines is a Mission Volunteer for Campus Based serving in the NCR North Area.