This year February sees the beginning of the Holy Season of Lent. Mother Franziska focused on the sufferings of Christ and urged the sisters to unite themselves with their Bridegroom by bearing the sufferings and inconveniences, including the real poverty involved with the beginnings of the Congregation. She realized the the sisters would not be credible witnesses for Christ if they afforded themselves every convenience. At the same time, she did not skimp on education and the proper equipment to serve those who depended on the Congregation.
Today we live in a slightly different world. We have many of the material good things of life, and we cannot totally divest ourselves of modern technology which is part of the work and service we do for the Kingdom. We are, however, subject to many stresses and irritations that were unknown a century ago. Penance is not meant to be a self-inflicted pain for its own sake but a witness of God’s love. In our time many people are living in a dark despair. They seem to make a major project of fleeing from suffering at all costs. Some of this flight takes the form of addiction to sex, pornography, medication, alcohol, empty pleasure, as well as many other destructive choices. Our world needs witnesses to hope, joy and peace that come from living according to and trusting in God’s will. We can make our penance as daily acts of gratitude to God for goodness, truth and beauty we may not have noticed before. We can lift people up with sincere compliments and caring, both in word and action according to our possibilities. As Mother Franziska advised, … give joy… make happy… and so lead to heaven. Happy Lent… Really!!!!!