Spiritual Reflections by IHM Sisters and Friends

 

Change our Hearts

Sr. Luz Cayazzo
IHM Center, Scranton, PA
March 07, 2001

The following reflection was shared at a prayer service at the IHM Center during the season of Lent.

Jesus said to his disciples: "Be merciful, as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you shall be forgiven. Give, and it shall be given to you. Good measure pressed down, shaken together, running over, will they pour into the fold of your garment. For the measure you measure with will be measured back to you. (Luke 6:36-38)

When invited to give this reflection is was said to me that I could share from my ministry to the Hispanic people. It was very tempting, but then I realized that this would not be fair to them, too easy for me - and after all it is Lent. So I decided to take the personal road.

I looked at my life and thought, "My God you know how much I invoke your mercy, I try not to judge, to give and to forgive - so I guess I am ok! But I have to admit that the last sentence sounded very emphatic to me. So I looked again this time I decided to get out of the numbness of my routine and contentment and contemplate the life I am living.

I used all the help that I could get. My first help was my Bible. I went back again to the reading. Surprisingly there was a scribbled sentence beside it that I wrote many years ago: Misericordia...tener corazón para la miseria, para la deshumanización... which translates: Mercy is to have a heart for misery and dehumanization.

I am well aware of asking God to be merciful to me, but do I have a heart for misery and dehumanization? The truth is that I see misery every day in one way or another and that misery makes me very uncomfortable, angry and frustrated - and usually I go to the next step which is I complain, criticize and judge...whatever is there to criticize, judge and complain about...the systems, the politics, the others...which sounds pretty normal to me if we/I want some changes, no? Who likes misery, anyway? But the sentence haunted me: Have a heart for misery.

The second help was going back to a retreat that I had participated in a long time ago on forgiveness and I found this question: What difficulties, blindness, fears do I have that are not letting me be aware of my offenses to others? And another one was - the Gospel teaches us that the people who have a conversion let themselves be love even through their misery. So here again was the word misery. I went back in my mind and heart to contemplate - when was the last time I had cried for having offended someone? When was the last time I asked for or gave forgiveness? Why do I walk with the agenda so "in order" and so ok? Oh Lord, how much I have let myself be influenced, and trapped in a time, in a world, in a modern society that speaks of productivity, efficiency, economic power, competition, individualism and above all, speaks of arrogance in self-sufficiency - a self-sufficiency that is numb to misery and forgiveness, a self-sufficiency that speaks of only one, me - when misery and forgiveness speak of us. Yes, I want to have a heart for misery because then it will mean that I have found myself, because then it will mean that I can look at you and you can look at me and we recognize each other - and that both recognize the Chris in us. Give us the grace, Lord, for a heart of forgiveness and misery. Amen.