Lent is half over, and I am just now posting the first reflection upon the season. I suppose I could claim the discipline of silence but it would not be completely honest. I have allowed myself quiet even in the midst of parish and family activity.

I will confess to sitting down and initiating thoughts upon the spiritual themes of Lent on multiple occasions. I also have tried to compose words on social events such as the tragic violence at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, but sighs and wordless prayers were all I could create. The aftermath has created the latest chapter in our nation’s long and divisive debate concerning gun control. I do commend the efforts by the surviving students to express the kind of trauma produced by a person roaming the halls of your school shooting a semi-automatic assault rifle. I believe our country and especially those who legislate laws and policies, must listen to their message.

For me, I have carried this national grief and division as I have walked the Stations of the Cross on Tuesdays and Fridays, bearing our world’s grief and sorrow to the divine seat of mercy and healing. Ours is a vicarious and sacramental faith, and there is power when the church invokes the spirit of God through its ancient liturgies to bring light out of darkness, and resurrect life from death.

The place of Jesus is the place of the church: to bear up under the burden of the pain and sorrow of our day in the grace and strength of God, transforming the ashes of death into the garland of life and the tears of sorrow for the joy of peace.