Wednesday, March 9

Reflections on Lent

As we come together for Ash Wednesday, I come to think about what we, as catholics do during Lent.  Much of what constitutes Catholicism is writ in non-liturgical custom and tradition which is highly variable in its direct relationship with Scripture.  Even more of interest is that these things, not the theology, is what most people (catholics and non) associate with the religion.

For myself, Lent is a time to double down on my reflections, do serious self-examination and discard those things which have accumulated over the year which are a hindrance to my looking Godward.  Does that mean I eat meat during lent?  I don't see how a piece of chicken or a steak for supper keeps me from God any more or less than some salmon.  What about the ashes?  Yes, both for myself but also for the church community.  Ignoring any personal significance, communal rites (which are most of our rites) are outward signs of unity and powerful social glue. 

As is my wont, my critical eye looks beyond myself and to the church and society as a whole. How does [X] affect a person's ability to 'Love God and their neighbour'?  Everything which impedes needs to be stripped away, because it's getting between the human (that would be ALL of us, individually and collectively) and the Divine.

For our church, Lent is framed in the language of a pilgrimage or journey.  We do labyrinth walks and hikes (weather permitting) and a lot of contemplative work.  Each of us who has decided to earnestly follow Christ are walking down a road, on that journey.  Some are farther along than others.  Some of us have decided to take the 'scenic route'.  We all walk at our own pace, taking breaks as we need to and doing a bunch of stumbling about in the darkness.  That's OK, though.  We've seen a great light.  We just have to keep focused on that Light.

Thanks be to God. 

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