A Message from Fr. Brent-
“Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; rend your hearts and not your clothing.”
So it begins... another Lent in COVID times.
This whole year has been a rather penitential one. So much has been lost to this virus. Some of it has been taken from us: our health, loved ones, time, physical contact, jobs and businesses.
But some of what we lost this year has been given. We have sacrificed some of our freedoms, a lot of them actually, for the good of others. There is loss there, no doubt, but sacrificial loss is a very different thing than having something taken from you.
I am reading Cynthia Bourgeault’s book The Wisdom Jesus. Writing about the extravagance of Jesus’ sacrifice, she reminds us of O Henry’s story “The Gifts of the Magi.” You know the story, right? A young couple was desperately poor and just as desperately in love. They were so poor that each only had one thing of real value and yet they wanted to get the other a Christmas gift. They made the sacrifice, each selling their thing of value to buy a gift for the other.
On Christmas morning, they give each other their gifts. The man had sold his pocket watch to buy a silver comb for his wife’s hair. She, meanwhile, had sold her hair to buy her husband a watch chain.
Was this a waste? Or was this prodigal generosity? It is the latter. And that’s the point, in the economy of God, that a sacrifice freely made, prodigal, extravagant, loving generosity through sacrifice is its own reward. It is not about practicality. It is beyond reason. It is God. Maybe that shines a light for you on the Cross.
So this Lent, as we make our sacrifices to God; sacrifices of decadent joys, sacrifices of our time given over to prayer, study and charity, and our continued sacrifices for the good of our neighbor as the pandemic enters the critical vaccination stage, may joy upon joy abound.
May God bless you wildly,