I found an article that Sister Joan Chittister OSB wrote a few years ago about the start of Lent. “Lent is not about penance. Lent is about becoming, doing and changing whatever it is that is blocking the fullness of life in us right now.”
Right now what is blocking my fullness of life is extra clutter: material and emotional.
Since Lent began I have been taking on the discipline of purging items. It also helps that for two months in a row, my closet shelf has collapsed forcing me to ruthlessly examine my storage processes.
In addition, I have spiritual clutter to work on too. For instance, I need to up my compassion and get rid of some of my judgments. And when I get hurt, I hold grudges. It is difficult to simultaneously hold grudges and practice compassion.
Sister Joan talks about opening “ourselves to life” during Lent. And that we can “rend our hearts” when “We’ve failed to repent old abrasions, quick words, harsh judgments made in haste and expiated never. We have closed the doors of our hearts, as time went by, to so many of the things we need to live full and holy lives.”
So, just like the purging that I plan to continue in my house, I have to add in compassion, and fill my home, heart and relationships with that. What will you be giving up or taking on this Lent?
Elizabeth McBride is the director of intergenerational programs and editor of Café.