This Lent is Re-lent-less
Last week I read an article in Christian Century magazine that made reference to Dorothy Day, a Catholic activist and co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement. Every year she would give up smoking for Lent. But it resulted in her becoming so irritable that her friends were greatly relieved when Easter came and she resumed her habit. The next Lenten season she would resolve again to fast from cigarettes, with the same result.
How often our best intentions exceed our ability to achieve them. When we try we realize that Lent can be relentless (or re-lent-less). This one certainly is. Whether we intended to make major sacrifices during this season or not, we are all doing so now. Maybe not just out of piety, but also out of concern for our personal safety and by order of public officials.
How ironic that the Coronavirus hit right in the middle of the Lenten season. We are all now forced to give up things we enjoy, like the freedom to have person-to-person contact with friends and our church family. Our forced physical isolation from one another is unprecedented, certainly inconvenient. Yet there are many for whom this time much more than inconvenient.
I share this prayer, seen on Facebook, and originating with the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor. May it remind us to pray for those for whom this Lenten season is even more re-lent-less:
May we who are merely inconvenienced remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors remember those who are most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips remember those who have no place to go.
May we who are losing our marginal income in the tumult of the economic market remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home remember those who have no home.
During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other, let us find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors.
May God bless and keep you and yours and make you a blessing to others during this re-lent-less season,
Pastor Mountain View Fellowship McGahyesville