Day 3: Finding the Joy in the Fast
BY AMANDA MONTEZ | March 4, 2022
This time last year, surrounded by 8th grade students, I asked “what do you think you will give up this Lent?” They were a little stunned—haven’t we given up enough during the pandemic? As half of the class was on Zoom and half of the class was spread 6-feet apart and masked, it felt like a lot had been sacrificed already—the luxury of in-person school, a warm embrace with a friend, a large family gathering. I reframed my question—what is something that we can intentionally add to our lives during the forty days of Lent?
The principal at Sacred Heart Nativity would frequently tell our faculty that less is more. It reframed the way we spent our days and it carved out time every week for one homeroom to have a joy period—a moment away from the rhythm of school that allowed them to reconnect with themselves and each other. I can picture the food eating contests with 8th grade boys, water balloon fights with the PE teacher, nail painting parties watching Toy Story 3, and slime making in the science lab. This is where the joy lived—when we got to slow down, be in awe of each other’s goodness, and take a fast from traditional learning.
In this season of fasting, what can we do differently to be in companionship with others? To be in accompaniment with those on the margins—the hungry, naked, and oppressed? In what ways can we find joy in the plain, old, ordinary moments of our days?
Today’s passage reminds us that we are not being asked to make big, grandiose fasts. We are being asked to recognize and honor the humanness in each other. And in response, we radically love one another so that the margins dissipate.
- What can you add to your life during Lent to help you to better find joy in the “plan, old, ordinary moments of our days?”
- What Lenten practices can help you to more radically connect with others?
Amanda Montez Cobian is the director of diversity, equity, and inclusion at Jesuit High School in Portland, OR. She recently finished her graduate degree at the University of San Francisco in international and multicultural education. Her research centers alumni of Nativity schools and how they transition to predominantly white high schools. As a bi-racial educator, she aims to create the classroom environment she wished she could have had as a student and works to create systems of racial equity at work, in research, and as a co-author of Jesuit West’s Community Organizing for Racial Equity (CORE).
I shared this in my blog I’ve been writing for years as I was thinking if Ukraine:
Fr. Bob Traupman
Fasting from judging others who do not share same values; suspending judgment allows me to listen more, understand more this love more. As in the readings yesterday. Choosing life giving practices over death . Pray for peace in Ukraine.
One thing I am trying to do is to laugh five times a day and get at least five other people to laugh in the course of a day. Just bringing a smile to someone’s face can lift another’s spirits and bring a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day.
I am disappointed in the Lenten Posts. I thought there would be more meat and substance. The last three days have left me empty. Perhaps this is the point. I did not know the Posts would be directed to grade school children. Is this the Ignatian method?
I am truly sorry you feel empty but Jesus himself calls us:
“Truly I say to you, unless you change and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven”
For me, thinking in this way humbles me and reminds me remain humble before God
Empty. Maybe emptiness is a call to know God in a deeper way. A desert experience.
Since most of the people in our parish live by themselves, it is important to take a moment and welcome them at the beginning or end of our prayer. This morning I met a person who I hadn’t seen in some time. She was glad I recognized her and I encouraged her to join me in prayer sometime this week. There is something about doing even the smallest task together so before we go to prayer we will join each other for a visit to someone else in our building. Even the shortest time just to say hello and how the person is before we head off to work, whether teaching or evaluating some of the classes, it is a special time to connect and meditate on the compassion of Jesus Christ for each one of us and use that compassion to serve others.
My husband and I are in our 80s and for us the pandemic is not over. We are still pretty much confined to our quarters. So it is very important to find some joy in each day, be it a short walk outdoors or a game of ping-pong on the kitchen table. Prayer and remote service to our parish keeps us sane and thankful.
I swim daily and live in an assisted living facility W/O balconies or easy access to the sun.
So for Lent after my swim, I’m going to sit outside in the sun for 30 minutes and pray for the people of Ukraine and thank God for my many blessings.
My husband and I, both in our 70’s have sent funds to help Ukraine. It is the least we can do to help those in need.
Attend the solidarity rally for Ukraine tomorrow at the courthouse in Fort Wayne at 3 pm
‘We are being asked to recognize and honor the humanness in each other’ – Well said, Amanda, Thanks.