When I was first asked to write a reflection for this series, I was hesitant. My immediate thought was “I don’t think I have anything to say that people would want or need to hear.” I haven’t been feeling very inspired in recent weeks…or months…or even years. Upon seeing that the theme of this year’s Lenten series was Holy Frustration, however, I realized, “oh okay…yeah, I might have a few things to say about that…”
For as long as I can remember, my default emotion has been anger (for those who follow the enneagram, I am a classic 8). I don’t see it as a bad thing, though. In fact, I believe that my proclivity for anger is what led me to social justice work. My own embrace of Holy Frustration has kept me feeling connected to, engaged with, and passionate about justice movements.
However, these past two years have pushed me to my emotional, mental, and spiritual limits. Amidst the fear of the pandemic, the grief and rage at the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and many others—and the momentous, yet incomplete racial reckoning in our nation—I have found my heart hardening. I could feel myself shutting down, losing grip on Holy Frustration, and instead getting lost in despair.
As today’s readings remind us, our world is deeply flawed, and it is natural to feel angry, even despairing. But as Jesus tells us, as people of faith we are to be in the world, but not of the world. We are responsible to and for one another because we are connected by something greater—by a Holy Frustration that can only become life-giving when enlivened within a community of faith.
As you go about your day today, ask yourself: How or where have I been feeling depleted in recent weeks or months? Where or with whom have I found life-giving moments? How can I commit myself to spaces that foster Holy Frustration?
“Yo no nací sin causa.
Yo no nací sin fe.
Mi corazón pega fuerte
Para gritar a los que no sienten
Y así perseguir a la Felicidad.”
“I wasn’t born without cause.
I wasn’t born without faith.
My heart beats loudly
To cry out to those who feel nothing
And so pursue Happiness.”
Emily Kane serves as the assistant director for social justice in campus ministry at Loyola University Maryland. She holds a masters degree in social justice with a concentration in migration studies from the Institute of Pastoral Studies at Loyola University Chicago.