Day 14: Lamentation, Fury, and Hope
BY BORETA SINGLETON | March 2, 2021
The picture is of my parish’s sanctuary during a prayer service held in July of 2020. The title of the service, Action from Lamentation, Fury and Hope expresses my feelings, too. The deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd call me to again grapple with the dangerous reality of being a Black person in the United States. The pandemics of racial injustice, COVID-19, and religious and political divisions are intertwined with lamentation and fury. I am both angry and sad that many of our Church and civic leaders do not see that Black Lives Matter. I am disheartened when I hear that yet another BIPOC life has ended in violence. I mourn the reality that COVID-19 has taken the lives of so many, especially a disproportionate number of our Black and Brown sisters and brothers.
However, I do believe that God calls us to hope for a future where we are invited to continue to build the Kingdom of God here on earth. That means we are invited to take action. I hope to spend my Lent by praying for and writing to 40 Catholic bishops and civic leaders. I will invite them to read prayerfully Dr. Martin Luther King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” I will ask them to use their positions of authority to speak out against racial violence.
In the readings today, both Isaiah and Jesus remind us that our titles or jobs will not get us special rewards. We need humility as we consider our own needs in the light of our brothers and sisters who are ignored and forgotten by society. I will endeavor to do all of this with love, for God is love. And God desires that we will show love to all, even to those who do not love us.
- How are you called to take action for justice during this Lenten season?
- How can you consider the needs of those who are ignored and forgotten by society in your justice work?
- To whom are you called to show love this Lent?
Boreta Singleton is director of faculty formation at St. Peter’s Prep High School in Jersey City, NJ. She is a member of the Church of St. Francis Xavier in Manhattan where she is a member of the racial justice ministry, the music ministry, and is a spiritual director.
I was stopped at a red light waiting to cross the street and a very gentle voice called my name. He is a large man who sits on the corner of State and Superior and says hello to people – he hopes that people going by will share their goodness by getting him a sandwich. When I heard his gentle voice I reached into my purse to find who I should help this Lent. He was right beside me and crossed the street with me. He was grateful for what I gave him but his eyes were not on the money but my eyes that he wanted to notice. He offered me grace and I offered grace back. Lent is in full bloom!
Boreta, I love the idea of writing to 40 bishops during lent and exhorting them to read Letter from a Birmingham Jail. I would love to see the copy of your letter. Blessings this Lenten season.
The good thing about being in Chicago is that we can just pick up a phone and call and don’t need to write a letter but I try to do both! I feel that the Bishops get what we are trying to say and walk with us on this journey. Boreta, I am sure your letters will be well received as the journey is that we Go to God Together with the hopes and dreams of both Martin Luther King and our holy Pope Francis and Cardinal Cupich.
Thank you for this inspiration Boreta. Hope all is well.
Boreta, thank you for this reflection. I have shared it with others. I remember you well from the few years I was at the Wernersville Jesuit Center. I still have the scarf you made for me during a retreat — believe me, in Wisconsin up north here, it gets worn A LOT so YOU are remembered in my prayer quite often every winter!!
Thanks for this truly inspiring reflection.
Powerful and touching!