Almost exactly one year ago, I sat facing my computer in a Zoom call with my boss and a member of the HR team, as they broke the news to me that I was going to lose my job. Although the writing had been on the wall for quite some time, nothing actually prepares one for the moment when news like this would hit like a ton of bricks. Ironically, this news came just one day before Ash Wednesday. Little did I realize that my own Lenten journey would soon start to take a shape of its own.


One day after handing over my work to my now ex-employer, COVID-19 hit me really hard. Weeks later, a silent retreat that I had planned went up in smoke as unexpected family issues surfaced. And in the weeks and months that followed, I found myself grappling with one issue after another as they seemed to relentlessly surface at the same time.


It was one of the most challenging times in my life – one that was fraught with many tears and uncertainty, and one where my self-esteem and sense of self-worth would take a steep nosedive. I had built a successful career in communications and PR and under the current challenging economic times, I was convinced that I would never again be able to find another job that I would enjoy as much as the last one. A dark cloud of doom and gloom hung over me as I played out different tragic scenarios in my mind.


However, a month into losing my job and feeling sorry for myself, I decided that perhaps it was time to end the pity party, when sitting before the Blessed Sacrament one night, I was reminded that Jesus had in fact prepared me well to face this difficult season – only I was too blind see it at the time. I had been graced with a consistent prayer life and a personal relationship with Christ that has deepened over the last 9 years through a daily Holy Hour that I continue to practice today. Why then was I not trusting that He would walk me out of this dark fog I was in? Why wasn’t I letting our Lord share my burdens with me?


So instead of contemplating my uncertain future, I decided to spend my time contemplating Jesus instead – sitting at His feet, resting, listening, praying, waiting – just holding on to Him for dear life while He navigated the boat we were both in during this storm – only this time, I would learn to surrender and let Him take charge.


I found comfort in praying the Stations of the Cross and drew strength from contemplating the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary. In prayer, I made countless visits to Gethsamane and watched as our Lord cried in agony and fear; I contemplated Him in prison and saw the sadness in His eyes as He mustered strength to face unimaginable suffering. I watched as He carried His cross and walked past me, reminding me that it was my cross He was carrying. And I wept.


As weeks and months passed, an indescribable peace came over me and as my journey continued, I felt a renewed strength and hope for the future.


It was a Lent that lasted seven months – but in uniting with the suffering Christ, something in me changed forever. I am profoundly humbled and fully aware now of how much our Lord loves me and personal prayer has also shifted into something deeply interior and intimate. It was an outcome I didn’t quite expect given the circumstances I was in.


Seven months after I lost my job, I landed a new one. I remember the elation and the joy that filled my heart – not because it was far better than what I had prayed for – but because I realized the journey with Christ that had brought me up to this point was a far more precious gift.


So brothers and sisters-in-Christ – Lent this year may very well be different for some of  you. Whatever you are facing – whether it’s job loss, a dispute at home or in the workplace, a life threatening illness or the loss of a loved one – see in this an opportunity to journey with Jesus through the stations of your life.

Trust that however long it takes, the joy of  Easter awaits and that finding our loving and faithful Saviour in the midst of your struggles and loss will be your greatest treasure and joy.


May this Lent be a fruitful one for all as we journey with Christ beyond the Cross to the light of His glorious Resurrection.


To Jesus Christ, our Lord, be all glory and praise, now and forever.


Written by Cheryl Sim



“Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Matthew 11:28