In this annual series, current and former volunteers reflect on the Lenten Gospels and the Four Pillars of Faith-Based Service: Social Justice, Simplicity, Community and Spirituality. Presented by Catholic Apostolate Center and Catholic Volunteer Network.
Second Sunday Lenten Reflection By Cheryl Cuglewski, Change A Heart Franciscan Volunteer Program
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” (Matthew 17:1-9)
City traffic often calls for desperate measures. With a 45-minute commute home and little patience in reserve, I quickly discovered every shortcut possible. But one route had a catch. While waiting at the intersection my gaze would find its way to a person standing at the corner holding a cardboard sign. In rain, sun, cold, and heat I saw these men and women. Some stood silently, a backpack on the ground, reaching out a hand if a car paused. Others paced down the narrow strip between the cars and the concrete barrier. They waved. Stared. Bickered. Thanked. Smiled. Screamed. And I admit, day after day I hoped for a green light to avoid sitting with guilt and asking questions like, “How can I ignore this person’s pain?”
One day last summer I shrunk into my seat as I stopped two cars back from the clogged intersection. A man was standing there and I felt the familiar uncomfortable questions. But slowly I felt something else. “Can you just look, at him?” It was a simple and gentle question. It wasn’t compelling me to give an apple from my lunch with a forced smile or to slip a dollar bill through the cracked window. I think it was a deeper invitation to see this man as a person. The question hung in the air. I took a breath. And as I quietly looked at this man, with his thick brown hair and weathered skin, I felt as if I encountered the Divine.
God, thank you for all the ways You are patient. Give me eyes to see You in places and people I don’t expect. Open my heart just a little bit more. And when I resist, help me to remember Your voice calling me, telling me not to be afraid. Help me to believe that You are with me always.
Focus on Spirituality
The Transfiguration must have been terrifying for James, Peter, and John. Here’s their friend and teacher that they see every day, and suddenly He’s changed. And add in two prophets of old and God’s voice. No wonder Peter is awe-stricken. No wonder they’re afraid. But in the midst of revealing His glory, Jesus does something incredibly human. He touches them. Maybe it was that touch that grounded the disciples and opened them to the beginning of a deeper relationship.
Think of a person you struggle to love. Spend a few minutes in prayer using your imagination and ask God to give you the grace to notice something different. You might also reach out to a neighbor, friend, or coworker who’s going through a difficult time. Simply let that person know you care.
Because of her volunteer year with Change A Heart, Cheryl returned to school to become a nurse. She’s passionate about Pittsburgh, has hit far too many potholes, and has zero willpower when it comes to chocolate.
Looking for more reflections like this one? We invite you to download our Lenten Reflection Guide in its entirety, available by clicking here. You can also find an extensive library of Lenten resources by visiting the Catholic Apostolate Center website – click here.