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).