Day 36: Clearing the Clutter for Clarity

BY SPENCER LIECHTY | March 20th, 2024
Today’s readings

The first reading today provides us some vivid imagery in courageous ways of rejecting false gods of our world and society. It asks us to consider what societal pressures we are subject to. What are we standing up for or against despite it going against the ways of the world and most powerful?

In my work ministering to university students, retreats and immersions can be helpful opportunities to take a step back and examine ourselves and the world around us. To consider what ways we might be attached to false gods and to refocus on what is actually most important. Most recently I accompanied a group of students to East Los Angeles, where we got to spend a week learning from and encountering the beautiful people and community of Dolores Mission in the Boyle Heights neighborhood. It was refreshing to see and experience such a vibrant community living out their faith in a real, tangible way.

As we were flying back to Buffalo, a winter storm dropped as much as 6 feet of snow in parts of the city. A travel ban ensued, and our group was stuck in transit for 3 additional days. The unexpected addition to our trip had some poetic undertones as the group, which was just immersed into such a vibrant healthy inspirational community for the week in East LA, now had to focus on creating positive community themselves (albeit through a relatively minor challenge and length of time). The extended time together, while perhaps stressful at first, gave the group a chance to be refreshed in community, prioritize relationships, and invest in one another.

Lent offers an opportunity to look at what clutters our life and gets in the way of what’s most important—to evaluate those disordered attachments. It offers an opportunity to identify our personal false gods and ways we fall victim to what society tells us is most important. When we let go of these distractions, we might be rewarded with the gift of a new perspective, a greater sense of purpose, or a greater clarity of ourselves and others as beloved. 

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