Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Lent: "A Summons to Live Anew"

Writes Sister Joan Chittister:

Lent is a call to weep for what we could have been and are not. Lent is the grace to grieve for what we should have done and did not. Lent is the opportunity to change what we ought to change but have not. Lent is not about penance. Lent is about becoming, doing and changing whatever it is that is blocking the fullness of life in us right now.

Lent is a summons to live anew.

The first challenge of Lent is to open ourselves to life. When we "rend our hearts" we break them open to things we are refusing for some warped reason to even consider. We have refused for years, perhaps, to even think about renewing old commitments that we've allowed to go to dust – spending time with the children, visiting our parents, exercising, taking time to read good books. We've closed our minds, maybe, to the thought of reconciling with old friends whom we have hurt. We've refused to put the effort into reviving old spiritual practices like visits to church, meditation in the morning, the memorization of the psalms, that we allowed to die in our youth but failed to substitute for as we aged. We've failed to repent old abrasions, quick words, harsh judgments made in haste and expiated never. We have closed the doors of our hearts, as time went by, to so many of the things we need to live full and holy lives.

Lent is the time to let life in again, to rebuild the worlds we've allowed to go sterile, to "fast and weep and mourn" for the goods we've foregone. If our own lives are not to die from lack of nourishment, we must sacrifice the pride or the sloth or the listlessness that blocks us from beginning again.

– Joan Chittister, OSB
"Ash Wednesday and Lent: Beginning Again Always"
The Huffington Post
March 8, 2011

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Our Memory of Eden
Now Is the Acceptable Time
Ash Wednesday Reflections
The Lenten Journey
"Here I Am" – The Lenten Response

Recommended Off-site Links:
This Lent – Looking Inward, Looking Outward – Jim Wallis (The Huffington Post, February 17, 2011).
My Lent: Ashes, Addiction and the Reality of Hell – Debra Dean Murphy (Religion Dispatches, March 7, 2011).
This Lent, Practice a Spirituality of Resistance – John Dear, SJ (National Catholic Reporter, March 8, 2011).
The Trouble (and Blessing) of Lent – David Lose (The Huffington Post, March 7, 2011).
Lest We Forget: The Ashes of Our Martyrs – Terence Weldon (Queering the Church, March 8, 2011).

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