Don’t Give Up
A reflection for the first week in Lent
By Sr. M. Martha Pavelsky, MHSH
“Lent”— I know it comes from an old English word that means “lengthen,” supposedly because days are lengthening, and that should make us happy. Winter is over (in some places), weather is improving (really?), inevitably (sooner or later) spring will show up (check the tops of trees for buds, even now.)
More encouraging might be this weekend’s (March 9-10) responsorial refrain: “Be with me, Lord, when I am in trouble.” Do you remember the isolating terror of being “in trouble” as a child and wishing for someone to share your fear? Recall the cold lump in your stomach as you sat in a “time out” chair awaiting your just desserts. If some kind soul happened by with a warm word – what a boon!
Would that be a good Lenten practice for a change? Forget giving something up. Watch for an opportunity to give – a smile, a warm remark, an encouraging observation. We can’t know when someone might be feeling as besieged as Jesus in the desert at the end of his forty days. We might make a small effort to let that person know “I’m with you!” in some gentle way – and pray that through us they sense God’s presence, “a refuge and a fortress.”