Giving ourselves like alms

Weeks into Lent, some of us may be dipping into those books of Lenten reflections more sporadically than we had hoped.  We may feel a bit untethered from whatever observance we had intended.  What do we do?  Give up? Begin again? Or something else.

It’s long been important to me, as I inhabit Lent, to call to mind the physical presence of Jesus on this road to Jerusalem, to imagine myself in conversation with him, to think of what we might talk about before the others got up in the morning, to imagine how I might stay the course of his loneliness.

Perhaps this comes from a time of Ignatian retreat, perhaps it is my own disposition.  Whatever the reason, it’s been more vital than following a more specific daily way.  It leads me into all kinds of places, and interrogates my practices.  

I can learn, in these moments, how to accompany the world’s anguish,
in which his own cries out.

In Lent, if I let it, time feels charged in a potent way as Jesus  heads toward what’s coming. I cannot live the enormity of his anguish, but I can be present. I can pay attention. I can learn in these moments how to accompany the world’s anguish in which his own cries out.

I think these Lenten days we need to fast until we are empty, emptied of what may both fill and diminish us: a captivity to long held habits of self-doubt, or apathy, or bitterness, or whatever we discover is taking up holy space.

I think we should repent, not in some leaden, ground down way but as though we’re out spinning with abandon in the field we go to when things seem wrong. As though we’re turning, turning until the beloved face is in focus and we stagger so close that we breathe in the transcendent impulse toward love and find our way.

I think we should release any idea of prayer as something we must do, a kind of religious time-card -stamping and surrender to its beauty, the way it shapes itself of our longing and our laughter. The way it is sometimes a bird’s song and sometimes a sob, and sometimes the way the door of our homeplace creaks when we open it after a long, long day. I think we should hold one another often in simple wordless moments of grace and warmth.

I think we should feel the grace of giving ourselves like alms to the One we are walking the days beside.

Stay close.

Join me on the journey. Rest, Reflect, Replenish

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