March 12, 2016
"In Argentina climbers have a beautiful song they sing while climbing: 'In the art of climbing, the victory isn’t not to fall, but not to remain fallen' This is the art!!!! Who is the only one who can grab you by the hand so that you don’t remain fallen? Jesus Christ! The one and only!" (Pope Francis, Michoacán, Mexico 2016)
Have you ever been hiking to the same place twice? The trail is always the same, the rocks, the trees, the view, everything is the same. However, we always have a different experience which makes a repeated hike different regardless of the sameness around. The trail is the same, but you are not the same, you are not the same person who walked this trail last year, or even a day before as we are constantly changing.
The trail will always be the same, but we will be different every time, therefore our view will be different too. The way we contemplate things, the way we breathe the air, the way we make silence, the way we look at people will be different, all new experiences within the sameness of a place that would never get old.
I see Lent as a hike we all take every year, the very same trail, to the very same place, and as we grow and change our experience of Lent is always different as well. There are some who are more prepared than others to take this hike, because they have been preparing themselves, walking every day, wearing the right shoes, hiking with the right people, studying the way in and the way out. On the other side there are some of us, who are a mess, who may start strong....and right in the middle or even at the end find themselves with no more strength to keep on going.
Every year I commit myself to have the perfect Lent and finish strong, and every year I fail. And it is in these failures that I can see how our walk is more about willingness, just like in a hike. Because we are not professional hikers like PG Frassati and the rest of the Saints, we may lack the willingness to keep on going at times and fall, and we may have to slow down at night and wait for the sunrise to continue hiking, and wait for others who are trying to catch up with us, and get hungry, thirsty, and tired, but remember "the victory isn’t not to fall, but not to remain fallen. This is the art!!!!
When everything seems heavy, when it seems like the world is coming to an end, embrace your cross, embrace Him. Please never let go of his hand even If he is dragging you. And if you fall once, let yourself be raised by him." (Pope Francis)
Let us pray for those who are not aware of God's mercy during this time, so that they will get the same graces we would get because of our faith and one day share the same view when we get to the end of this Lenten hike.
But more importantly let's pray for each other, because we are aware of God's mercy but that doesn't mean we have it together with God, it is just the beauty of our humanity and our real relationship with our Lord.
Let us pray for those who stumble, for those who fall, for those who sometimes can't get up.
Pray for me.