Fr. Kevin’s Column 3/21/21

Dear friends of God,

Last Saturday I participated in an online meditation retreat morning. The talk that was shared with us reminded me that Lent is an annual journey that has both inner and outer dimensions. Our outward practices of prayer, fasting, almsgiving and giving up something (or taking on new practices) are meant to foster our growth in faith and discipleship that God calls each of us to as we prepare for our renewal of Baptism at Easter. Lent is part of our annual cycle of life that is meant to draw us closer to the heart of God. It is not simply a time to fall prey to focusing on our sins and our failures. It is a time to take up those practices that bring us closer to God and to learn to take up our crosses and follow the Lord towards Calvary and into resurrected lives. Lent is the time for us to ask God to transform our hardened hearts and to give us hearts of love and compassion like that of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

 

Lent is our annual journey into the death of the Lord and the preparation for Christ’s Resurrection at Easter. Lent comes from the Old English word for spring. Like many Lents, this year has not felt incredibly springy. However, we have had some nice days in the middle of March with some winter thrown in to remind us that we do live in Michigan. Our Lenten days are waning, but it is not too late to embrace the Lenten practices that we might have begun on Ash Wednesday, which certainly felt more like winter than anything that might resemble spring. For me, I have made the intention to take more time for silence during the day. I have begun practices based on my experience of meditation. When I take time for my mediation in the morning and the evening, I do not rush to turn on the television or listen to music directly after the time of prayer. I let the silence linger and see what God might be telling me in the quiet. It is too easy to cover God’s communication with us with the Muzak of our lives. We can easily forget the wisdom of the Dominican Meister Eckhart: “There is nothing so much like God in all the universe as silence.” In these waning days of Lent, as we see spring right around the corner, I would encourage all of us to take some more time for silence and other practices that draw us closer to the God who loves us so much that he died and rose for each of us and for our entire universe. One lovely opportunity to come together for prayer, silence and song will be with our Taize prayer service that takes place on Wednesday, March 24 at 7 p.m.

 

I will close with a prayer that was used at the beginning of the morning of mediation and reflection. It reminded me that God is always working with each of us and with our world to show us the path of change that we need to prepare for the coming Resurrection. God takes this holy time to show us how to love God and neighbor even more intentionally.

 

A LENTEN PRAYER

O God of Every New Day,
You offer us the gift of Lent…
You teach us that this time
is not about guilt.

You teach us that this Lent is about awareness.

 

This year, in a very singular way
You have gifted us with a great pause…
that we may notice what and who is all around us,
reflect and assess our present course,
discern what it is you call us to,
right here, and right now.

 

Make us aware…
Aware of the voices
we have been ignoring
Aware of the choices we have made
that have damaged or
hurt your cause
aware of your presence in those
we would sometimes choose to avoid.

 

Teach us to learn from our past,
To listen to your future,
to sing glad songs of love and hope,
knowing you are with us
throughout this sacred season.  Amen
 
Fr. Kevin