This statue is one of the many life-size depictions of Christ displayed in the annual Lenten procession in San Mateo, Philippines.
Mar 23 2016

The message of mercy in Lent

By Tristian John Cabrera, communications liaison for Unbound in the Philippines

Tristan John Cabrera is based out of our Quezon office. The Philippines is a predominately Catholic nation, and staff members from our Quezon office celebrate Lent together. Tristan offers his reflections on what Lent means in the Holy Year of Mercy.

For this Holy Year of Mercy, Pope Francis has said, “Mercy is the heart of God. It must also be the heart of the members of the one great family of his children: a heart which beats all the more strongly wherever human dignity — as a reflection of the face of God in his creatures — is in play. Jesus tells us that love for others … is the yardstick by which God will judge our actions.”

Pope Francis went on to talk about how St. Paul “encourages the Corinthians to take up collections as a sign of solidarity with the suffering members of the Church,” and how St. John asked, “If anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother or sister in need, yet refuses help, how does God’s love abide in him?”

The founders of Unbound also heard that call to serve the marginalized. In unique ways, Unbound encourages in our community all these positive characteristics to be in solidarity with what God has done for us.

We walk with the people in need — we seek to understand their situations and challenges in life — we give them hope so that they may realize their potential. Most especially, we give them love, a mutual love and respect believing that we can eradicate poverty, or at the very least, lessen it, and eventually see the families who participate in our program uplift their lives.

Father Rey Tano of the Missionaries of God’s Love gave a Lenten reflection for the Unbound staff in Quezon. In his reflection, he said, “Almsgiving, fasting and prayer are the three basic practices during the Lenten season. All of these are attributed in one common goal, and that is reconciliation.”

Almsgiving can be done by people from any walk of life. Giving of ourselves cheerfully and wholeheartedly, whatever we are able to give, is what God wanted us to do. In this way, we can become closer to God by recognizing him in others.

Prayer is our only way to communicate with God. It is a kind of conversation and expression that only God can hear. Even in silence God can hear what our hearts want to say, though it’s been said that singing songs of praise is like praying twice.

The Lenten season is a time of prayer and a time of reconciliation — a time when we can thoroughly express our gratitude and love for God.

As we celebrate Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday, let’s reflect on the gift of life that God has given to us. And let’s take that gift and give of ourselves to others.

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