Ash Wednesday | It Might Be Time to Break Something
BY SR. NORMA PIMENTEL, M.J. | March 6, 2019
Reflexión en Español
As children in our parents’ home, we are often cautioned to be careful. I remember once when my goddaughter Andrea was around three years old she pointed to all the porcelain figurines in the living room and said, “Don’t touch, don’t touch, don’t touch!”
Growing up, we are taught early on to control our actions, to behave and not break things, damage the furniture, or spoil the beautiful environment our parents have assembled for our family. But in God’s house, occasionally we are required to look around, and react when we see something out of place.Lent is a time for atonement. We are called to become introspective as we examine our conscience, to correct our past misdeeds. In doing so we are also called to be honest with ourselves, and that requires an examination of that which surrounds us. Are the people in God’s house suffering? Is someone near you in need of shelter, clothing, or a small gesture of kindness? Behaving as God’s children does not always mean that we are quiet, immobilized, seated in a pew with our hands folded on our lap.
It might be time to break something in our Father’s House. Let us renew ourselves this Lent and break away from a culture of indifference to one that cultivates encounter and welcome. #Broken #LentClick to tweet
Get up and take notice of your surroundings. Break through to a better understanding of what’s happening in your world, and participate in the atonement for the sins of all humankind. As we examine what is in the privacy of our hearts, we can evaluate what we allow to happen in our midst, in the collective public view of all.
It might be time to break something in our Father’s House. To start we must break our habits of apathy and indifference and break the culture of turning a blind eye to those in need, breaking through to a better world by looking inside our heart, speaking out and speaking up for our brothers and sisters in Christ who need our help. Let us renew ourselves this Lent and break away from a culture of indifference to one that cultivates encounter and welcome.
Sr. Norma Pimentel, M.J., a sister with the Missionaries of Jesus, is the executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley. She oversees the charitable arm of the Diocese of Brownsville, providing oversight of different ministries and services in the Rio Grande Valley through emergency assistance, homelessness prevention, disaster relief, clinical counseling, pregnancy care, food programs, and humanitarian relief to immigrants.
Thank you. I enjoyed reading and thinking about this. I am reminded of a stanza from one of Mary Baker Eddy’s hymns, which reads:
“Thou wilt bind the stubborn will
Wound the callous breast
Make selfrighteousness be still
Break earth’s stupid rest.”
I have spent some time in McAllen, traveling with Pastors for Peace, and met many wonderful people there doing good works.
La lucha sigue.
Thank you for this beautiful reflection. I will take a look within and make some changes, break some habits that are not helpful to my relationship with God. I know I need to change and I am asking God for help in this area. I want my change to be permanent and not just for Lent.
We need to see the need in others. And we can also speak our own truth and express our own needs as a way to open others to the clarity of issues we all face.
Thank you for your inspirational words. Serving others comes back to us a thousand fold. This Lent, I hope to be more sensitized to the needs of others and social justice issues.
Sunday’s Gospel reading says “Remove the wooden beam from your own eye first” and the homily used the word ‘plank’ as did commentaries I read afterwards on the Gospel. I have removed planks and the structure remained intact. I have not removed a beam without the structure coming down. We don’t see clearly because of the structures we build in our minds that are supported with the instant judgement of our vision ‘beam’.
I love the idea of encounter and welcome. At our NCSW at
Magnificat High on Sunday, we sisters from all over Cleveland,
Prayed for readiness to be transformed, a willingness to be changed by an encounter with another. As we encountered each other in conversation, we prayed for hope, faith in our
Learnings, and growth in knowing love finds a way. Love never fails. this is my wish to be a culture that encounters each other and Jesus in this encounter. God Bless! ??❤️
Muchísimas gracias por el regalo del artículo de la Hermana Norma en español. Hay una necesidad muy grande para más obras de reflexión bilingües.
With all the ongoing news of abuse by priests of young people, it might be time to organize resistance from the laity against protection of individuals and church funds at the expense of the lives of victims and their families.
I fear the lack of reaction in our society has resulted in the terrible state of the world we live in today. Thank you, Sr. Norma
We have brought our homeless brother-in-law to live with us temporarily. This is my husband’s doing, as he realizes helping this man will in the end, help my sister. I am struggling because he verbally abused my sister for 30 years. I pray for kindness to rule my heart, not distrust and cynicism. I am glad to read your words today.
Responding to the call to break requires courage and grace. The Lord provides it in abundance to the one he allows the mission.