From the many writings that Blessed James Alberione left to the Daughters of St. Paul, here are the three things that he encouraged us to think about during Lent. As you enter into your Lenten journey, may these thoughts help you to draw closer to Jesus and to receive his love—which is what Lent is all about!
“Let us draw encouragement from three things. First: Jesus crucified. Let us picture the sufferings Jesus endured during his passion: the scourgings, the spits of the soldiers, the crowning with thorns, the condemnation to death, the road to Calvary, the crucifixion, his agony and death. Jesus loved us to the point of dying for us: ‘He loved me and gave himself for me’ (Gal 2:20). If Jesus denied himself and suffered so much…what can be said of us, who want to love him in return? Should we leave him alone on Calvary? No! We must follow the crucified Jesus.
“Second thought: the Blessed Virgin. Picture her at the foot of the cross. Holy Mother, pierce me through, in my heart each wound renew of my Savior crucified. Think of what it must be like for a mother to watch her beloved son in agony. A mother who watches her son condemned to death, nailed to a cross, knowing that he is completely innocent—such a mother’s suffering is inexpressible. ‘You too will be pierced to the heart’ (Lk 2:35). We want to resemble Mary, who is the Queen of Martyrs. So let us practice self-discipline in small things. We know that we are not capable of great acts of self-denial, so let us make the small, necessary acts of self-denial as these opportunities arise during the course of our day. At times, it might mean accepting poor health; at other times, internal troubles or disillusionments, or humiliations, or rebukes, or reminders. Let us accept these mortifications, which are very small in comparison to what Mary suffered. We are capable of doing only these small things, but let us do them with great love and offer them with this sentiment to Jesus, who suffered so much and gained so many merits for us.
“Third thought: our patrons, St. Peter and St. Paul. Both saints suffered martyrdom: Peter by crucifixion; Paul by decapitation. They loved the Lord to this point! But they only reached this point after many years of apostolate; after many years of preaching and prayer; after many years of seeking souls, working for their conversion and founding churches. How many times they were imprisoned! How many times they were beaten with rods, slapped around, and spit upon! How many times they had to bear the cold, the heat, hunger! How true it is that the apostolate often calls for sacrifice! Let us reflect on how generous our patrons were.
“…let us sanctify this Lenten season so as to accept and receive the gifts of Easter more abundantly.”