As we journey through Lent to the glory of Easter, it is not without great trepidation. The world is certainly a scary place and with such unrest, wars and rumors of more, many people are on edge and worried.
But in this holy season, as we fast, pray, and give alms, let’s step up our prayers for peace and for discernment of truth. If we’ve learned nothing else over the past two years, it’s this: the news media cannot and should not be trusted. We are constantly being manipulated with propaganda and “fake news.” Do not allow it to take your peace but persevere in prayer and faith.
Does that mean nothing is happening in Ukraine or other regions? Of course not. But we have to be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves as we navigate through, and to question everything. God only knows what is really going on. Pray for His peace to prevail.
As we contemplate the way of the cross, after the definitive turning on Jesus by religious leaders, remember that they didn’t win. Jesus did. Like doctors in the Middle Ages used leaches to cure their patients by sucking out the bad blood (or so their theory went), God is right now using the evil intentions and actions of the evil leaders on the world stage, and those pulling the strings behind the curtains, to accomplish His Holy will and establish His Kingdom here on earth.
If you’ve never read the Book of Esther in the Old Testament, now is a great time to do so—or to reread it if you have. The evil Haman, out of pride and hatred, tricks the King into signing a decree to kill all of the Jewish people. Queen Esther, favored by the King, interceded for her people and the wicked plot of Haman was turned against him.
So, what can we learn from Esther that we can apply today?
Self-Sacrifice and Trust
Esther feared for her life but was willing to risk it to save her people. She reasoned that if it was God’s will that she perished, so be it. She trusted in God as her ultimate King.
Prayer and Fasting
Esther immediately undertook a fast and asked her people to join her in fasting and prayer. There is power in such mortification. The King’s anger immediately flared when she approached, but his heart was changed in an instant and he was solicitous to her requests.
Humility and Obedience
Favored and loved by the King, Esther didn’t presume herself to be above the law, but approached him with great reverence and trepidation.
Esther bided her time before exposing Haman’s wicked plan against her and her people. She set him up to think he was winning and at the right moment his wickedness was exposed and the King then dealt with him expeditiously, hanging him on the gallows he’d prepared for her Uncle Mordecai.
As Fulton Sheen said, evil has its hour, but God has His day. We’re in that difficult hour where it seems evil is winning. It is not.
Use this time of Lent to contemplate how God allows evil to boomerang against those who perpetrate it. I’m always struck that in scripture it tells us that very early on the third day, Jesus rose from the dead. Very early. Once the battle was won and the Scriptures were fulfilled, God acted quickly.
One day when we look back on our lives from heaven (prayerfully), I bet they will have seemed very short against the backdrop of eternity, no matter how old we get. Keep that in mind. Pray daily for hope. Turn off the news. Trust me, people will talk about things that are going on, so you really won’t miss anything.
Focus forward to the Triumph of the Cross and the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart. One day at a time.
Wishing you a prayerful and fruitful Lent.
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