“I’ve decided on a ‘two-for-one’ during Lent this year,” the young woman announced to her mentor during their monthly conversation. “I’m going to give up avoiding and move toward taking time to think and pray.” That way I can give something up that isn’t doing me any good and take on something that will help me grow in my faith.
It had been a long time coming, but finally Judy, while working full-time in a retail store had decided it was time to get serious about this discernment practice she had put off ever since college graduation. Somehow she knew deep inside that it was the right thing for her to do but she was a bit afraid of what she’d find out, afraid of what she’d discover God wanted from her.
But this Lent she was in a new place. Was this what they meant by “maturing”? She hoped so. She had been to a couple day-long retreats on how to do discernment and how to pray quietly. Her mentor called it contemplation. So she had the tools now. It was up to her to use them and Lent was a perfect time to begin her practice. “Yes,” she thought, “this is the right time to start. I can feel the Spirit inside, like a little whisper.”
How about your discernment? Is Lent the right time for you to engage in this practice? Click here for some resources you can use to get started.
May this Lenten time bring you closer to discovering your heart’s desire,
"Me decidí por un" dos por uno "durante la Cuaresma de este año," anunció la joven a su mentor durante su conversación mensual. "Voy a renunciar a evitar y dar siguimiento a tomar tiempo para pensar y orar". De esa manera puedo renunciar a algo que no me está haciendo ningún bien y asumir algo que me ayudará a crecer en mi fe.
Había tardado mucho en llegar, pero finalmente Judy, mientras trabajaba tiempo completo en una tienda, decidió que era tiempo de tomar en serio esta práctica de discernimiento que había pospuesto desde la graduación de la universidad. De alguna manera, ella sabía muy dentro de sí misma que esto era lo correcto para ella, pero tenía un poco de miedo de lo que descurbriría, miedo de lo que descubriría lo que Dios deseaba de ella.
Pero esta Cuaresma ella estaba en un lugar nuevo. ¿Era esto lo que querían decir por "madurar"? Ella esperaba que sí. Ella había estado en un par de retiros de un día sobre cómo hacer el discernimiento y cómo orar en silencio. Su mentor lo llamó "contemplación". Así que, ella ahora tenía las herramientas. Dependía de ella usarlas y la Cuaresma era el momento perfecto para comenzar su práctica. "Sí", pensó, "este es el momento adecuado para comenzar. Puedo sentir el Espíritu dentro, como un pequeño susurro ".
¿Qué tal de su discernimiento? ¿Es la Cuaresma el momento adecuado para que participe en esta práctica? Haga clic aquí para ver algunos recursos que puede usar para comenzar.
Que este tiempo de Cuaresma la acerque más al descubrimiento del deseo de su corazón,
Do you have the water? Or the jug? Or are you thirsty? A regular Lenten reading is the Samaritan woman at the well. In a way, the Samaritan woman could be any of us. She is coming to get water, to get what is needed for her and her family to survive, but she is tired of having to come day after day. The thought of receiving water that would quench her thirst forever sounds like a wonderful idea to her!
Our Lenten practices can help us become aware of what we truly need. By giving something up, we can no longer use that food or habit or thought to distract us, and we can encounter our own deep thirst. If we don’t realize we are thirsty, we will fail to drink the water we need. When we become aware of our spiritual and emotional thirsts, we can bring them to God and ask for that life-giving water only God can provide.
The wonderful gift of encountering our own thirst, and allowing God to ease it, enables us to then offer water to others. We know what it is like to thirst. We can share in that struggle with someone. We can help them lower the bucket to their depths in order to receive true water. Where are you this Lent? Are you avoiding your thirst? Are you allowing God to quench it? Are you called to help someone else lower the bucket into the well?
Sister Lorraine Réaume, OP
Lent is an opportunity to respond to God’s call. “Return to me with all your heart” (Joel 2: 12). The forty days of Lent echo Jesus’ own forty days in the desert -praying and fasting, listening to God and wrestling with temptations. He grew stronger and came out ready to unite his heart with the heart of God in his mission for others. Like Jesus, we renew our dedication to the love of God and to the love of neighbor as self through prayer, fasting, and generous service to others, especially to people who are poor and vulnerable.
Jesuit priest Father Mark Thibodeaux gives one example of how he renews his life in God through what he calls “the most amazing prayer you’ve never heard of.” This amazing prayer is St. Ignatius of Loyola’s spiritual exercise, called the Examen. Father Mark explains why he loves this way of praying:
What I long for is to have Christ join me in all the adventures and tedium of my active day. I love Christ so much that I want to share every minute of it with him….I want to feel his presence always! …. I want to share with him even the smallest details of my life: the irritating email…the pleasant smile of the women at the post office; the dread in my heart for the difficult meeting…Sure, I want to share with Christ the really big things…but the closer I grow to Christ, the more I want to share with him the seemingly insignificant things as well. I know he’s there, in the midst of it all.
Mark Thibodeaux, Reimagining the Ignatian Examen (Chicago: Loyola Press, 2015), vii-viii).
The Examen is a short prayer where for fifteen minutes every day you review your day. In five easy steps you: (1) Give thanks for all the things that went well in your day and the many gifts in your life; (2) Ask the Holy Spirit to review with you your whole day; (3) Recognize where you failed to love God, yourself or others today in big ways and small; (4) With self-compassion, feel the negative feelings that may surface and, if you have sinned, ask for forgiveness; (5) Look ahead with God to tomorrow and resolve to live it well.
This is only one way to rededicate your life to God. How much do you want to share your life with Jesus? As you reflect on your plans for Lent, how will you give God more of a role in your life?
Sister Sara Fairbanks, OP
At dinner the other night, one of the Sisters said, “My spiritual director asked me, ‘So what does Lent mean to you?’ So now I want to ask each of you.” We each shared our thoughts. It was a good discussion and here are some of the meanings we had:
- It’s like a second chance, a deeper commitment than what I did for Advent.
- A time to slow down and get closer to God, to take time to listen to God.
- A time to take on new practices so I grow in my faith and as a person.
- A time to be more aware of others.
- I try to ask God how God wants me to pray in a new way, what God wants me to give up, and what God wants me to give.
We reflected that sometimes these Lenten practices are for a time of six weeks and other times doing them can lead us into a new life pattern. All of us had the desire to grow, to become more who God made us to be.
What does Lent mean for you? What is God saying to you these Lenten days? Jesus prepared for his public ministry by spending forty days in the desert listening to God and being very aware of all the inner and outer temptations facing him. He grew strong and came out ready to take on a new way of being. What do you need to do to prepare for what God is calling you to do and be?
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Get out your bell-bottoms and platform shoes, because DISCO is here!
Okay, so it's a little less dancing, a little more talking... Sisters Lorraine Réaume, OP, and Sara Fairbanks, OP, have a new video series called DISCO (Discernment Conversations): Dancing with the questions of life!