It should give us pause that during this third week of Lent, we are still being told by Hosea to “return to the Lord.” We’ve been doing that, right? What more is there to give up? What sacrifice has not already been sacrificed? What prayers have not already been prayed? What alms have not already been given? What calls for justice have not already been cried out for?
It is in these questions that we are reminded of the meaning of Lent—purposeful humility.
If our Lenten practices cause false righteousness, and if our work for justice flows solely from a determination of self and not a downward gaze of surrender—this Lenten halftime pep talk is for us.
Where do your frustrations lie? Is it with mismanagement around vaccine rollouts, handling of a power outage, the lack of appreciation from a school system, a priest’s homily that did more harm than good, or friends and family members that continue to deny white supremacy? We all know that the list could go on. Whether or not we’ve prayed about the things that trouble our hearts, we are invited to venture deeper this Lent.
This Lent, we are called to connect our hearts to the centuries of hearts that have gone before calling out and believing in the deliverance of a faithful God.
This Lent, we are called to connect our hearts to those we may despise, the very ones that we believe stand in the way of justice.
This Lent, we are called to recognize the goodness of our work, but also to recognize that we do not have the all-powerful gaze to see all of the Work.
This Lent, we are called to ask for mercy and to extend mercy within our truth-telling, for it is through mercy that we continue to build the Kingdom of God.
- Who have you not prayed for this Lent?
- Consider reading Pope Francis’ Fratelli tutti as part of your Lenten practice and reflection.
Justin T. White is a middle school counselor, admissions associate, and clubs and activities coordinator at Loyola Blakefield in Towson, Maryland.