ENGAGE: Lent 2022

The birds are singing again in my backyard. They are not in full force yet but are daily gaining momentum, right on time and right in tune with the coming of the warmer weather and the season of spring in all its glory. The earth is preparing to tilt on its axis more toward the sun just like the rest of us, longing for a release from the shorter chilly nights and gray skies of winter. The familiar signs are all around us on this Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras. Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, one of the busiest days on the Church calendar.

I am always intrigued that people of all walks of life, even those not particularly religious, are drawn to this time of fasting, abstinence, and repentance right before Spring is officially sprung in nature. (Did you know that the word “Lent” actually means spring?) Ashes are black, like dirt, and applied to the forehead as a crude little door into the cluttered and anxious mind. We are “adam,” made of mud, and will all return to mud someday, somewhere. This primitive ritual reminds us of our fragility, our need to be prepared and ready for anything to happen.

We seem to possess an innate sense that in order for something new to take root and grow within the soul, the soil of the spirit has to be tended to like a garden when the earth has to carefully be loosened, fertilized, and watered. This garden metaphor has resonated through my consciousness on a low frequency for decades although March 2022 seems somehow different from the past two years.

When Lent began in 2020, the Covid-19 lockdown launched two weeks later. I had already written a Lenten booklet entitled “Abide,” which I found interestingly prophetic. What else could we do during the lockdown? In 2021, the booklet was entitled “Emerge,” based on the hope vaccines offered to end the pandemic. Alas, emerging waxed and waned. Delta and Omicron forced us into learning more tough lessons about tenacity and fear. After the winter siege, life is opening up again. Even mandatory mask-wearing in schools is ending.

As Lent begins yet again, I have chosen to focus on the word “engage,” despite my heightened awareness of the threat of viral strains. Now that I am a grandmother of nine, retired, and in my seventh decade of life, every day feels like a gift wrapped in the colors of sunsets, the light shimmering over the water of the Pacific, and the purple flowers beginning to show themselves on the wisteria outside my kitchen window. The inner voice urges me to engage now with all the energy I can muster. No more “waiting it out,” like someone in a perpetual rainstorm. Time to charge into life full force, splashing in puddles, unafraid of being drenched, and taking delight in every drop of water inside my shoes. No more denying myself like a monastic, not this Lent of 2022. This will be a Lent of engagement, spontaneity, and opening to whatever life has to offer.

For many years, I went by the motto, “fast now, feast later.” On this Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras of 2022, I plan to do just the opposite and will “feast now and fast later.” The feast will be on Beauty, Truth, and Goodness, which flows effortlessly from the Source of All Love. I will try to engage more with this Love and stream it to the Ukrainian people, to world leaders in Russia and Washington, to the forgotten and marginalized who have no voice, to my Church, community, neighborhood, family, and friends. Just maybe, like the butterfly effect, this Lenten engagement will be a small catalyst for the garden of life to bring forth an everlasting metanoia of both hearts and minds.

5 thoughts on “ENGAGE: Lent 2022”

  1. Pope Francis called all of us to do good this Lent 2022, he never even brought up fasting. Very timely. With scares of an Ukraine takeover by Russia & nuclear threats, doing good seems not enough but really it is enough! For the next 3 weeks we are staying in the Rocky Mts., where winter is still On big time…no flowers or singing birds as yet! The still beauty & quiet of a snowy day will be food for the soul to do good this Lent & pray for peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This was beautiful, a totally different take on Lent. It makes sense to fast from my usual preoccupation with work and to instead “atone” and “make reparation” through acts which give life.


  3. I love, ‘feast now, fast later’~ what a metaphor for life and your well written piece of your life up until now.
    Lent is certainly something different for me these days. I quiet my inner stirrings yet attend to them as tradition calls me. No matter what rebellion inside, I silently forge forward to some lenten promises to myself.
    The underground desert walking is poignant right now as I struggle with a push and pull of my everyday life, listening to God’s whisper to me as I discern choices as they come up. The sweet bird in my backyard tree invites a glimpse of the promised spring dance that awaits….and that is enough for me.


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