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1st Sunday of Lent Feb. 2121

Joan Mahoney, CND

I am Sr. Joan Mahoney, CND. Last summer, I retired as Coordinator of the Associate Relationship in Blessed Sacrament Province. I continue to do some consulting for the Associate Leadership. I am professed for 57 years and live with three other CND's in Norwalk, CT. 

First Sunday of Lent, Feb. 21, 2021 

This year, I find myself resisting Lent more than usual. Haven't we been living a Lent-like existence for a year? We have been in the desert of separation from loved ones, practicing the discipline of carefulness, living with a constant fear of contracting the virus for ourselves and those we love. Can't we just skip Lent this year and come to Easter hope in a vaccine, in life returning to some normalcy? And yet, on reflection, I begin to see wisdom and grace in living Lent this year of 2021.

"The Spirit drove Jesus into the desert for forty days.” There, Jesus was with his Abba discovering in the Spirit the depth of that relationship and growing in understanding of the reign of God he would proclaim. He came to better understand the graciousness and the great cost of his call, tempted by Satan and ministered to by angels. With the slowing down caused by the pandemic for many of us, I have come to understand a little better my relationship with God and my unique call to witness to Christ in this time. Perhaps this has also been true for you. So, then what is the call of this Lent? One thing, I have come to realize is that I separate my time. There is time for me and time for God. The truth, of course, is that it is all God's time, but I do not really live that truth. During Lent, I will set concrete practices to remind myself of the truth that all is God's! In my prayer, I will ask how God wants me to spend the day. What about you? What have you been discovering in your relationship with God that needs deepening, changing, developing? 

Upon leaving the desert, Jesus proclaims "Repent and believe in the gospel." Repent metanoia - a total change of heart and mind. Like many of you, I have been trying to learn more, understand more of the racism that is so embedded in our culture. I grew up on the edge of Harlem in New York City. I know the atmosphere I breathed taught me that black men were more to be feared than white men. (What a falsehood, especially after January 6!) I have rejected that prejudice many times over, but does it still lurk in me? I pray this Lent for true metanoia for me and society as I continue to study and learn the truth of our history and present reality and find ways to act upon this truth. 

With grace, each of us finds our own way each Lent. Pope Francis gives us encouragement in a Homily for the First Sunday of Lent. Lent is God's "project of love for each of us. In our lives, we always need to convert-every day!" Lent is "a joyous and serious commitment to strip ourselves of our selfishness...and to renew ourselves according to the grace of our Baptism.” We are called to embrace daily "the love that comes from God and seeks to transform our life and the entire world". 

I do need Lent this year. It can be a time of bringing to fruition all that God has been showing me during the pandemic. Then, I believe I will be ready to experience the new life of Easter. 



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