Taking a Lenten Journey while Unemployed

Ash Wednesday

A long period of unemployment can be one of the most trying experiences a person will ever endure. There are two paths one can take in such a situation.

The first and easiest way is to descend into self-pity. This journey ultimately leads to anger, blame and hatred aimed toward the individuals or group perceived to be responsible for one’s situation. The pathway leads into a deep pit that is difficult to climb out of. It turns toxic if followed for too long; and the poison spreads to those around you.

The second path is much more arduous, because it entails a difficult climb requiring tremendous strength, patience and faith. This journey is filled with personal reflection, introspection, forgiveness and discernment. Sticking to this pathway, call it the high road, leads to renewal, reinvigoration and healing. It makes one stronger inside and out.

The season of Lent is also a journey. Traditionally it is a period of reflection and renewal for Christians. During this season we pray and reflect upon Christ’s final journey as he prepared for and set out towards Jerusalem, where he knew he must suffer a horrible death. There, having resisted all the temptations of this world and lived a sinless life, Jesus chose the difficult pathway leading up Calvary Hill. On that bloody rock, mocked and condemned by his own people, he was nailed to a cross and died, taking upon himself all the sins of the world. The story doesn’t end there though. For at the end of Lent we celebrate Easter, the festival of the glorious resurrection of Christ when he arose from the dead, thereby setting us all free from death.

During Lent, challenge yourself to choose the difficult path. Make this a season of reflection, introspection, forgiveness and discernment. It is a wonderful time to discipline yourself through prayer and simply listen for direction from the still, small voice of God. Hope and inner peace await those who follow this pathway to the end.

A Psalm for Ash Wednesday:

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications! Psalm 130:1-2

A Prayer of St. Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace; Where there is hatred, let me sow charity; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is error, the truth; Where there is doubt, the faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; and Where there is sadness, joy. O, Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; To be understood as to understand; To be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; It is in pardoning that we are pardoned; And it is in dying to ourselves that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

A Reading for Lent:

The Economy – Just in Time for Lent (an article by Randy Sly, associate editor of Catholic Online)

Please visit this blog for the next six consecutive days as we begin our Lenten journey together.

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