Lent - words of wonder, not wounding
Lent is right here.
So around me there are many sentences starting with “I am giving up ……..” and there are many things – wine, social media, chocolates, movies, meat, fizzy colddrinks, cigarettes ….. the list is endless.
I too give up something tangible like that ….. it differs from year to year, but as I get older, I find that “thing” that I give up to be less and less of what is important to me about Lent.
When it comes to my prayer life I try and see if there is not an additional hour I can spend in Adoration, even during a slot of someone else, I make a commitment to the 6am Mass at least once a week, I try and up my prayer life and time and when it comes to Almsgiving – I concentrate even more on those that struggle. We often are blinded into thinking that people at robots holding signs or those in the streets are the only ones battling. However around us, at all times, are people that are battling due to unemployment, rising costs and many other challenges. I am not speaking about people living beyond their means and now struggling, I am speaking about people we see every day at work, sit next to every week in church. People we talk to, text, whatsapp all the time. How much do you really know about those people. Do you know whether helping them with dinner for their family once a week will help greatly? Have you talked to them, really talked … the kind of talking where you not only listen, but hear what they say? Help begins in a community and very often people are too shy to ask for help, too shy to reach out, too afraid of stigma or “skinner” and so we need to take it upon ourselves to try and listen more or find out if such people are around us.
Maybe Lent is a good time to start that.
However this year, I fiind myself wondering if during this time of reflection and sacrifice, we should not consider giving up some other things, rather than the ones we put into our mouths.
How about we give up some of the things that come out of our mouths? Words.
We happily eat chocolate and then give it up for Lent. What about giving up Words. Not the good ones. Not the kind, truthful, real words that build people up, build communities and inspire others. Not the words that heal and fix things. Not the words that show sympathy, empathy, gentleness and love.
How about we give up the other Words.
The ones that are mean and spiteful. The things we say that harm and hurt others. The untruths, gossip and mean things. The impatient words. The demeaning words. The abrupt ones, unkind ones and those that do nothing but break other human beings down and cause unnecessary heartache.
How about we try and give up some of those? I know I will. So try it – greet people with kindness and warmth … in your home, your office and your friendship circle. Smile more, acknowledge a good deed. Say please and thank you – tell someone they matter to you. Don’t repeat things unless you know them to be true.
Try it – words of wonder as opposed to words of wounding
May Lent be a wonderful time of reflection, prayer, giving and gentleness for you all.
c'est la vie