Well, it is that time of year again. This Wed., March 6, is ASH WEDNESDAY, the beginning of LENT. Time to pray more, be more generous, and do works of penance to prepare ourselves spiritually for Easter and for life hereafter.
All that is good. Very good, and I encourage you to do your traditional Lenten practices if you have some. But this year may I also suggest that in Lent we strive to be more careful about our statements and opinions? There is much going on politically in our country with the National Emergency declared by our President, the anticipated Mueller report, and the generally contentious nature of politics today.
In addition there is much going on in the Church with revelations of sexual abuse, of cover-ups, of failures by bishops and priests both in our country and around the world. Every day brings more shocking headlines, accusations, and revelations of crimes and sins from all around the globe.
Before we jump to blame the other political party, or politicians in general, or all the Bishops, or homosexuals, or the media, or cell phones, or modernity, or whatever your particular pet complaint is, I suggest we all take a deep breath and just be quiet. In this Lent let us fast from accusations, bombastic speech, blaming and heated debate. Let us try that very difficult practice of LISTENING to those who do not agree with us. Let us try to UNDERSTAND one another. Let us fast from quick responses and immediate categorizations and scoring debating points and practice understanding and seeking to see the other’s point of view.
It will not be easy. It certainly won’t make the news. But it could make for a very fruitful and holy Lent.