“We are always capable of going out of ourselves towards the other. Unless we do this, other creatures will not be recognized for their true worth; we are unconcerned about caring for things for the sake of others; we fail to set limits on ourselves in order to avoid the suffering of others or the deterioration of our surroundings. Disinterested concern for others, and the rejection of every form of self-centeredness and self-absorption,
are essential if we truly wish to care for our brothers and sisters and for the natural environment. These attitudes also attune us to the moral imperative of assessing the impact of our every action and personal decision on the world around us. If we can overcome individualism, we will truly be able to develop a different lifestyle and bring about significant changes in society.” (Laudato Si’ #208)
Our faith makes us conscious of certain paradoxical truths: In giving, we receive; in forgiving, we are forgiven; in loving, we come know greater love… Lent is a time to focus on the quality of our lives, in relation to the call of the Gospel, and these truths provide axes for our contemplation.
Another of these truths is at the center of this week’s citation: Our deepest interior wounds may be healed when we “go out of ourselves towards the other.” In other words, our woundedness is never remedied by deeper self-centeredness, but rather, by other-centeredness. It is in caring and giving, beyond our own narrow self-absorption, that we are redeemed. So, let us reflect on how our attitudes and actions impact others and our environment. If we find that they give and preserve life, we are promised that the light of that life will reflect back upon us as well.
This Lent, let us make a daily, conscious choice to make the life of someone else better by our words or actions. Let us not wait until Easter to share the redemptive grace that the Resurrection has promised to those who believe. Instead, let us channel Christ’s saving grace today, and every day.
If we do this, not only will our Lent be fruitful, but so will our whole life!