As I prepare for Lent this year, one phrase keeps coming into my mind: I want this to be “a Lent that matters.” Yes, theoretically every Lent should matter, but this year feels different. Perhaps because I’m in the midst of my canonical novitiate, I feel an extra draw to let this Lent be a truly holy and transformative time.
This week I read an article entitled “A Lent Where #BlackLivesMatter: 10 Ideas for Black History Month and the White Church.” I’d highly recommend reading it; it’s challenging, relevant, and practical. The point is this: Lent is about much, much more than giving up chocolate or facebook. A good resolution will draw me outside myself and challenge me to transformation. As a white Christian, part of that transformation is learning to listen (even when it’s hard… especially when it’s hard) to the stories of those who suffer on the flipside of my privilege.
Some of Pope Francis’ tips for Lent really drive the point home: do something that hurts, don’t remain indifferent, and pray: “make our hearts like yours!” Yes, wading through our nation’s historical and present reality of racism hurts. If we’re really committed to it, indifference is not an option. And if we pray that our hearts be made more like God’s… well, we better listen deeply and be ready for what we may hear in return!
What is emerging in your heart this Lent? How will you make this “a Lent that matters?”
Christin Tomy, Novice
St. Louis, MO