Lenten Tears of Conversion: A Season of Transformation
A little more than one year ago, Pope Francis spoke to a crowd at the US—Mexico border in Ciudad Juarez. In his homily, he recalled the people of the city of Nineveh’s who were committing acts of oppression and injustice. He explained how God asked Jonah to go to and tell them that “injustice had infected their way of seeing the world.” The people of Nineveh listened to Jonah, and penance was decreed in the city. Pope Francis explained, “God’s mercy entered the heart, revealing and showing wherein our certainty and hope lie: there is always the possibility of change, we still have time to transform what is destroying us as a people, what is demeaning our humanity.”
In his speech, he called for a transformation and asked us, “…to weep over injustice, to cry over corruption, to cry over oppression. These are tears that lead to transformation, that soften the heart; they are the tears that purify our gaze and enable us to see the cycle of sin into which very often we have sunk. They are tears that can sensitize our gaze and our attitude hardened and especially dormant in the face of another’s suffering. They are the tears that can break us, capable of opening us to conversion.”
The season of Lent provides a spiritual opportunity for penance, and conversion, an opportunity for us to soften our hearts and “weep over injustice” so that we may be more merciful toward others. During a time where there is a lot of division in our world, this season of Lent gives us as special opportunity to reflect on how God’s mercy has transformed us and to embrace what brings us together in order to see others in a new light.