I recall one year while I was in college that I gave up worrying for Lent. This took a great deal of energy at first, demanding a large portion of my attention and resolve. I worked very hard to let go of my need to control the various aspects of my life.
My marriage, my studies, my work, my ministry, my future, my health, my family -- all of these things were often on my mind swirling in a jumbled mess of worry, chaos or despair. Each one had to be intentionally released into the arms of One who Loves. It was sometimes a moment-by-moment act of trust and letting go.
This was incredibly difficult at first. Somehow in my daily living my mental hands had become like the rubbery tentacles of a giant octopus, tightly wound around each particular detail of my life, then suctioned on with super glue. I wasn't prepared for the pain in the process that came in the beginning as each individual suction cup was pried away from its treasured possession. The act could be likened to the detailed work of getting a sweet kitty's claws unstuck from a dearly loved crocheted blanket. Each fiber in the yarn and each individual claw has to be handled carefully so that the blanket and the kitty both remain in tact.
|Photo by TheoZomB|
So, when I read today that Pope Francis has a different sort of fast in mind for devoted followers of Christ across the globe, I paid attention. I have often been finding myself struck by this leader's wisdom and grace. Today is no different. Followers of Christ are encouraged to give up indifference for Lent -- to use this time to connect with the pain and suffering of the world. If you read my Ash Wednesday post, you will see how closely aligned he and I are in this perspective. I greatly appreciate the way Christopher Hale of Time writes of Pope Francis' invitation:
"...when we fast from this indifference, we can began to feast on love. In fact, Lent is the perfect time to learn how to love again. Jesus—the great protagonist of this holy season—certainly showed us the way. In him, God descends all the way down to bring everyone up. In his life and his ministry, no one is excluded."Fasting opens us up for feasting. Lent is the perfect time to learn how to love again. Truly, it is a time to remember who we are.
So, dear ones, what are you giving up for Lent? Or what are you taking on? No matter what it is, my prayer is that our Lenten devotions may bring us closer to our Creator, closer to one another and closer to the whole of creation. May this be a time of letting go of our old ways of being; may it be a time of remembering who we are.