Lenten Reflection Series: Understanding Grace

Throughout the season of Lent, we’re featuring the Millennial Lenten Reflection Series, co-sponsored by Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Franciscan Mission Service. Each small reflection will be written by a young person, focusing on that day’s Mass reading. You can sign up for the series here.

The second reading from St. Paul to the Ephesians doesn’t always strike me as “Lent-like.”   St. Paul writes about mercy, compassion, and God’s grace.  Not very penitential, right?

But, on a second and third reading, the connection seems to be a bit clearer.  Lent is a dying to self.  Lent is a walk in a dry desert that calls for a soul to be nourished by the healing, life-giving salve found in our sacramental life. Lent is also about understanding grace as free gift, not a reward.

My godson and his big brothers live in Minnesota.  Like many parishes, the one they attend has donuts after mass most Sundays. When the boys ask for donuts, their dad, not one to let a joke or theological moment pass, generally responds with, “Boys, do we believe in unmerited grace?”

Do we believe in unmerited grace?  Do our actions save us?

No, our actions don’t save us.  Jesus Christ saved us.  His ultimate action is what brings us to salvation’s door and through the grace of God we are called to participate and do good deeds in our world.

How are you participating this Lent?  What actions are you engaging in that call forth your return to Christ?

Genevieve Mougey, M.Div., is manager for poverty education & outreach at the USCCB Department of Justice, Peace & Human Development. Please join them in this time of reflection and prayer by using The Scriptural Way of the Cross.