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Pointing at the bulletin letter's date (link) at left will display it's title.
March 11, 2007
Lent - a “Subversive Opportunity?”

    For many Catholics, Lent is a time of sacrifice.  The interpretation of the word seems to vary with each generation but the majority of people would define it as an act that is either painful or unpleasant.  We walk through the season of Lent eager to be rid of these sacrifices.

    Lent is not primarily about making sacrifices however.  What is the purpose of Lent, you may ask, if it is not primarily about making sacrifices?  Lent is about changing our sinful, selfish ways and strengthening our relationship with God and with his people.   John Kavanaugh, S.J. a professor of philosophy at St. Louis University in Mo. writes for the America magazine.  Last week he wrote an article that could help us see Lent from a completely different perspective.  He sees the American culture as one that has a “powerful undertow toward depersonalization”.  He claims that we are taught to measure our worth primarily through the external, i.e., what we own or earn, what we produce, how we look, how we perform.  These pressures restrict our time for each other, even our closest family members and friends. 

    In relation to this outlook,  Kavanaugh suggests that Lent takes on a whole new meaning and offers a ‘subversive opportunity’ for Catholic Christians.  The disciplines associated with Lent, he says,  become an opportunity to learn about being related to a personal God and becoming more zealous disciples of Christ   Just as our culture can infect every aspect of our life, the disciplines of personalism must touch every part of us if we are to reclaim ourselves  for a personal God.  Kavanaugh stresses five disciplines that many of us would probably not even think of associating with Lent.  Due to a restriction of space, we will look briefly at two of these disciplines and touch on the other three next week.

    l.  Interiority is the first Discipline.  During this time of Lent, take some time, even if it only 10 minutes a day, to be alone, in solitude with God.  We can do this anywhere, anytime.  We can take this time to come in touch with ourselves. We can ask ourselves who or what we are when we are not producing, pretending, planning or filling ourselves with noise. As we quiet ourselves, we may come to realize that our greatest and most unique gift is our capacity to give and to receive love.  This sounds easy but for those of us who are wound up tight, it may be quite a challenge.

    2. Intimacy, our second Discipline.  Set some time aside ( at least a couple of hours) on a weekly basis to be with someone you care about. This can be your spouse, a child, a parent, a friend.  How often we take these relationships for granted.  At first, this practice might make us feel awkward but in truth, this is probably the best way to rebuild our often very frail relationships.  It is also the way to help you realize that you too are loved.  We must admit that we often doubt this concept.  Only time with a person who cares for us will help us break out of this “dark cell” where our thoughts lead us to believe that we are only worthy of love if we produce, produce, produce. 

    We only have four weeks left to practice our disciplines.  Let’s not loose any time.

                                Lorette P. Nault