40 Shades of Lent by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II Ash Wednesday, 02 March 2022 Prayer based on Papal Message for Lent 2022
For the third straight year since 2020, we enter the season of Lent, O Lord, in the most realistic or surreal manner as our lives were thrown off-balance, altered in so many ways, and some ruined by this COVID-19 pandemic made worst recently by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
As we begin our 40-day journey back to you, loving God our Father, we pray to you on this Ash Wednesday to raise us up "from the ash heap, to make us sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor" (Ps.113:7-8) because "now is the acceptable time" (2 Cor. 6:2) of salvation in Jesus Christ.
Together with Pope Francis, help us "not to grow tired of doing good, while we have the opportunity to do good to all" (Galatians 6:9-10) despite the great difficulties especially in this time of the pandemic, elections fever, and war in Ukraine.
Let us not grow tired of praying because in these times of trials, the more we need you, dear God; help us remember the lesson of this pandemic that we are fragile as individuals and as a society, that without you, O Lord, we cannot stand firm and make it to this Lent again.
Let us not grow tired of uprooting evil in our lives through our lenten practice of fasting to fortify our spirit in the fight against sin; let us not grow tired of fighting against all forms of addictions that drive us to selfishness and all kinds of evil like too much social media that has made us forget to cultivate authentic human communications based in "authentic encounters", face-to-face, and personal.
Let us not grow tired of doing good in active charity towards our neighbors especially the poor and needy, the marginalized and abandoned in whom Jesus is most present.
Give us the patient perseverance of a farmer who awaits the fruits of the earth (James 5:7), always persevering in doing good, one step at a time; may we realize that in cultivating fraternal love to one another, we become united to Christ who gave his life for our sake and enabled us to have a foretaste of the joy of heaven when you, O God, will be "all in all" (1 Cor. 15:28). Amen.
*For the full text of Pope Francis’ Lenten Message 2022, see https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/lent/documents/20211111-messaggio-quaresima2022.html