In my best effort at a Cliffsnotes version of the Lenten season for my oldest, I thought I had aptly captured a simple outline of Jesus' temptation in the desert before his crucifixion as our model for practicing self-sacrifice in the coming weeks. I had even mustered some enthusiasm for the both/and sadness of the season combined with the joy of its outcome. I asked Little Miss if some of that made sense and without hesitation she shouted, "NO!"
Absolutely honest, yet, we sell ourselves short by taking this notion at face-value.
If there is a part of the Christian story that is a tough sell--it is sacrificial love. Call it what you will: Lent, the passion, your cross, whatever. Nothing new here. There is something less than instinctual about signing onto the discomfort of self-sacrifice. Maybe we can rally for a sick friend, a spouse or the sweet infant Jesus, but faced with the gruesome reality of the Cross, it's simply easier to look away.
"No one can remain insensitive to the inequalities that persist in the world ... the Brazilian people, particularly the humblest among you, can offer the world a valuable lesson in solidarity, a word that is too often forgotten or silenced because it is uncomfortable ... I would like to make an appeal to those in possession of greater resources, to public authorities and to all people of good will who are working for social justice: never tire of working for a more just world, marked by greater solidarity"
Thank goodness for to the multitude who show up by putting love into practice!
Lent begins today in over-crowded churches, hospital chapels, prisons, schools and on streetcorners, marking each of our journeys toward change in a new way. For more thoughts on self-gift and God's grace in our midst, click over to the Catholic Beer Club, tomorrow.