2014 Lenten Reflections

Journey through Lent with St. Francis and St. Marianne

We invite you to walk through this Lent with our St. Marianne Cope who ministered for more than 30 years to those afflicted with Hansen’s disease (leprosy) in Kalaupapa, Molokai, Hawaii. Her words and actions, woven through the Peace Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi, will serve as our Lenten reflections for each week of Lent. The reflections are taken from the book A Walk With Saint Marianne Cope of Molokai by Sister M. Davilyn AhChick, OSF and Sister Malia Dominica Wong, OP.

We invite you to visit this page weekly for new reflections.

Lenten Reflections

Sixth week of Lent

“God giveth life; He will take it away in His own good time. Meanwhile, it is our duty to make life as pleasant and comfortable as possible for those of our fellow creatures whom He has chosen to afflict.” – Mother Marianne Cope 1905

How do I bear the dying Christ in my body that the life of Christ may be manifested through my whole life? As Mother Marianne did, may I constantly look heavenward, keeping my vison on God.

Lord, I ask that my love for you may increase as I daily take up my cross and follow you into the perfect joy of your kingdom.

And, it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

“Let the sisters and brothers be gentle, peaceful and unassuming, mild and humble, speaking respectfully to all in accord with their vocation.” – Rule and Life of the Brothers and Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis, Chapter V, Article 20

To be in peace is to be in harmony with oneself and all relations. Out of this harmony, comes the self-emptying surrender as Mother Marianne Cope exemplified in her open embrace of every single person she met beyond race, color, creed, age, gender, status or abilities. We are challenged to dedicate ourselves in a similar manner.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace …”

“I do not think of reward; I am working for God, and do so cheerfully.” – Mother Marianne Cope, 1902

Mother Marianne exemplified the heart and virtues of a selfless servant. She did not let hardships or joys distract her from the single intent of working for God. What are some of the qualities I lead by as a good leader in imitation of Jesus and Mother Marianne?

Lord, I ask for the grace to be pure and noble, to cheerfully lead and serve your people as you graciously lead me.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace …

“The Lord says in the Gospel, “Love your enemies …” (Mt. 5:44) To love your enemy means not to spite the harm another has done to you, but to feel sorrow instead over the sin on the other’s soul, while continuing to act with charity.” – Writings of St. Francis of Assisi, Admonition 9

It only takes milliseconds for the brain to register a stimuli and a physical reaction to occur. Many of us under certain circumstances would lash back at that which harms. Mother Marianne Cope was no stranger to suffering and prejudice, misunderstandings and hard labor. Yet, having mastered the art of self-cultivation in the way of Jesus through St. Francis of Assisi’s example, she entrusted all to God. She chose the chivalrous path of being peace, sowing the seeds of love.

Lord, where there is hatred, let me sow love.

“Try to accept what God is pleased to give you no matter how bitter ‘God wills it,’ is the thought that will strengthen you and help you over the hard places if we wish to be true children of God.” – Mother Marianne Cope 1905

To face challenges and succeed needs courage. Deeply rooted in God, Mother Marianne did not let problems overcome her, no matter how difficult. She rather felt pity for those misled. How do I face obstacles that come my way?

Lord, grant me a larger heart to bless those who have trespassed against me.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love …
Most High, Glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart, and give me correct faith, sure hope and perfect charity, with understanding and knowledge, Lord, so that I may fulfill your holy and true command. Amen. – Prayer of St. Francis before the San Damiano Crucifix

It all begins within each of us. For some it is called processing, for others it is “doing one’s internal homework” or self-cultivation. Mother Marianne Cope knew herself and thus was able to selflessly and successfully fulfill God’s will. How? Through a deepened prayer life and many hours spent before and with the Lord — her God and All, she became like a sanctuary lamp, a beacon reflecting God’s unconditional love and radiance.

Lord, where there is darkness, let me bring light.

“If at times temptation or gloominess comes along to test me and I see joy in my companions, then I immediately recover and let go of the temptation or depression. The joy I see in others calls back my own inward and outward joy.” – Mirror of Perfection, 96

Our lives are punctuated with stepping stones. Life-changing landmarks such as graduation; going off to college; getting married; entering a new career; change of residence; or the passing away of a loved one can be times of great sadness as we lose control of that which was stable to us.

For Mother Marianne however, embarking upon the unchartered rather brought her countless periods of joy. There was no time for wallowing in sadness. As the Lord’s faith-filled minister, she brought gladness to all those she met and cared for. And the, brought her much prodigious delight.

Lord, where there is sadness, let me bring joy.