Lent…a journey of faith and conversion

By Kathy Gillis
January/February 2014

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Our cover photo features Pope Francis washing and kissing the feet of young prisoners in a Roman jail. After the ceremony, he spoke words of encouragement to them, saying “Press on! Don’t let yourselves be robbed of hope. Understood?”

The young people, two of whom were women and some were Muslim, ranged in age from 14 to 21. They gave the Pope a wooden crucifix and a kneeler that they had made in the detention centre workshop.

I wonder if this experience lingers in their mind—this act of evangelization? Pope Francis offered hope, compassion, love, inclusion, reaching out to all, without exception. Isn’t this what sharing the Good News is all about?

By his actions, Pope Francis is helping us to understand what it means to witness the Gospel. He teaches us by example to reach out to the poor and those on the margins, to build bridges of friendship and understanding, to cross barriers and borders, not of geography, but of difference. We are to offer hope and life: “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10). This is what the Gospel calls us to do.

Scarboro has a long history of walking in other lands, among other cultures and faiths, and with a commitment to the poor and marginalized. “Going forth” for God and leaving the comforts of the familiar is not easy, but the missionaries all say that they receive from the experience much more than they give. For many it is a journey of faith and conversion, discovering God already present among the people.

My journey with Scarboro Missions these 25 years (has it really been that long?) is also an experience of faith and conversion. It is an honour for me to present each issue of Scarboro Missions magazine, one voice through which Scarboro shares this lived experience of mission and their understanding of mission today.

May the articles in this issue help you to be joyful messengers of the Good News and witnesses of hope throughout your Lenten journey, stirring you to compassion, to love, to action, offering life and hope in dark places as Pope Francis did in that Roman prison on Holy Thursday.

Fasting and feasting

Lent can be more than a time of fasting.
It can also be a season of feasting. A time to...

Fast from judging others; feast on Christ living in them.
Fast from emphasis on differences; feast on the unity of all life.
Fast from apparent darkness; feast on the reality of light.
Fast from thoughts of illness; feast on the healing power of God.
Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude.
Fast from anger; feast on patience.
Fast from pessimism; feast on joy.
Fast from worry; feast on trust.
Fast from guilt; feast on freedom.
Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation.
Fast from negativity; feast on affirmations.
Fast from stress; feast on self-care.
Fast from anxiety and fear; feast on faith.
Fast from hostility; feast on peace.
Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others.
Fast from discouragement; feast on hope.
Fast from apathy; feast on enthusiasm.
Fast from suspicions; feast on truth.
Fast from idle gossip; feast on spreading good news.
Fast from words that wound; feast on words that heal.
Fast from talking; feast on listening.
Fast from thoughts that weaken; feast on promises that inspire.
Fast from problems that overwhelm us; feast on prayer.
Fast from everything that separates us from God;
feast on everything that draws us to God.
(Adapted from a prayer by William Arthur Ward, 1921-1994)

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