“Our Father,” we pray. If everyone in the world can hypothetically pray the Our Father, that means that we are all brothers and sisters. It’s essential to have a relationship with God, for you to “love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is indeed “the greatest and the first commandment.” However, we can’t forget that “The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:36-40)
Make this the Lent that you will reach out to your brothers and sisters. Make this the Lent that you will fast from indifference. Pope Francis emphasized in his annual Lenten message: “Indifference to our neighbor and to God also represents a real temptation for us Christians. Each year during Lent we need to hear once more the voice of the prophets who cry out and trouble our conscience.” Self-denial and self-control are important aspects of Lent—it reminds us of both the weakness of our body, the strength of our spirit, and puts us in a small amount of communion with the passion of our Lord. Yet, without love, these are empty actions. We are like the biblical Pharisees if we miss change our routines without changing our hearts. We can easily make self-denial about the self and its glory.
If we give up indifference, as Pope Francis asks from us for Lent and for each day, we can self-sacrifice for the good of others.
Giving up indifference means you see a man with his head in his hands sitting on the bus next to you and, risking embarrassment, you smile gently and ask if he’s okay.
Giving up indifference means you don’t tell a homeless woman that you “don’t have any cash.” You carry cash purposefully and give it to her. If you’re worried about how she’ll spend it, take her to a restaurant. Share a meal with her.
Giving up indifference means you offer your change to the teenager fiddling with her wallet in front of you in line at the grocery store.
Giving up indifference means you pay for the person behind you in the drive-thru.
Giving up indifference means you laugh at an awkward moment to make someone else feel less awkward.
Giving up indifference means you change the topic of a conversation before it turns to gossip.
Giving up indifference means you look up and smile instead of staring at the sidewalk as you walk to class.
Giving up indifference means you.
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