“You have been told,” the prophet Micah/Miqueas proclaims, “what is good, and what the Lord requires of you. Only to do the right, to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God./Yo te mostraré lo que conviene hacer, y yo lo que el Señor pide de ti que es que obres con justicia, y que ames la misericordia, y que andes solícito en el servico de tu Dios. (6:8)
I like this passage from Micah, and with my different focus this year, when I came across a Lent reflection from Sr. Joan Chittister where she started with these words I read further. Micah’s focus challenges us today to see beyond fasting and sacrifice. Loving goodness and being just (doing right) is where Lent gets real to Chittister.
Lent gets real for us, Chittister says, when we walk with the Jesus who cured Roman soldiers as well as Jews. Lent gets real when we act like the merciful Jesus who talked with the woman at the well restoring her to her community. Lent gets reals when we walk with the Jesus who is with refugees fleeing places of violence as well making sure all have something as basic as health coverage. “Lent is the time to renew the best in us.” Chittister has discovered. And “justice, mercy, and simplicity of life are the only things that make for a genuine Lent.”
For some thoughts on fasting and penance I turned to Peter Szymusiak, The Holy Name of Jesus Business Manager. But before talking about fasting he also remembered Gorzkie żale—the Polish custom of prayers of lamentations that he heard in the village churches daily throughout Lent. As for fasting in Poland there was a much stronger focus on it—not only was it more than just Fridays during Lent, more foods were restricted than what we currently give up during this time.
One of the things Peter noted about fasting is how it reminds us of our limitations, how you are more agile when you are not stuffed (think about how a nap is often more desired after a large meal than going for a walk). Growing up with stricter Lenten fasting in preparation for Resurrection, he said, it also made looking forward to a “big ol’ meal on Easter morning with eggs and bread and even horseradish” all the more enjoyable. Though the Easter meal overall is a joyful celebration, the bitter horseradish is a small reminder of where Resurrection comes from.
Showcasing SHA talent: I didn't ask Peter if potatoes were part of Easter dinner but if present they probably didn't look as cute as these active potatoes by Roman and Annelise in 5th grade.
4th Grade Aide
Jr. High ELA Aide