I was reflecting on Lent and how much I love following the church calender. I come from a background where the major Christian celebrations were marked but the cycle of the church year was not noted. I was trying to explain to one of my friends why I love Lent (and she proceeded to look at me like I had grown an extra head). Lent, for me at least, is not a time to give something up and deprive yourself for deprivation’s sake. It is a moment to reflect and realign misplaced time, priorities, and energy. It is about refocusing.
I am actually looking forward to giving up spending much of my free time on the internet. It is going to be hard, don’t get me wrong. I have come to see that watching documentaries every free moment, while a useful coping mechanism in the past, has become a hindrance. And although it does not appear to be destructive it does not build anything either. Mostly it has become a great form of escapism that I can easily justify because I am ‘learning things’. However, I have realized that while I have retained some interesting tidbits I haven’t really learned that much especially when you consider how much time I have spent. In fact, I find that I listen less well now, my attention span is shorter, and instead of being creative, building into the lives of others, or actually learning something I am self absorbed, half listening to the glowing screen. I am getting bored. I am becoming someone that I don’t want to be. So this Lent is going to be spent trying to realign my mere existence back into a life.
Besides the obvious changes I need to make removing things from my life I am also going to add something – something that will remind me to be intentional. So I am going to make a point of saying the Prayer of St Francis twice a day but I am hoping that by the end of Lent it will be ingrained enough that I will say it throughout the day. It is a beautiful prayer and it distills into a few short lines the person that I would like to become.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen