Wednesday greetings to all. It is a rainy and dreary day here in Chicago, as we begin the holy Season of Lent.
A friend asked if I was a "give up something" or a "do something" person when it comes to Lent. Well, the answer is a bit of both. In the last few years, I have trended toward the latter; my "doing something" has more to do with an intentionality I have developed while approaching this season. I try to do my best to be a more active listener at the the liturgy, with an eye toward preparing more deliberately for the renewal of my baptism promises at Easter. I am inspired by a section in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, which states:
"In the liturgy and liturgical catechesis of Lent, the reminder of baptism already received, or the preparation for its reception, as well as the theme of repentance, renew the entire community along with those being prepared to celebrate the paschal mystery..."
Most Catholics are accustomed to the "theme of repentance" as the sole lens through which they view the season. The Church asks us to weave another strand into our approach to Lent; the strand of preparation for the renewal of our baptism promises. Especially in our current Year A of the liturgical cycle, it can be spiritually enriching to listen to the prayers and readings at Mass with the baptismal focus. This can thrust us toward our annual baptismal renewal at Easter. This approach has really made Lent a much richer season for me, at least.
Yesterday, one of those who was at my session in Boston on Saturday made a blog comment concerning the "Hokey Pokey." Some of you must have wondered what that was all about. Well, as "hokey" as it may sound, I refer to the last verse of this dance/song when referring to full, conscious, and active participation at the liturgy. "If you want the liturgy to be boring," I often say, "then leave your real self outside the experience." I go on, "If you want God to do God's work at the liturgy; to transform you, then you've got to, as the song says, 'Put your whole self in.'" This is certainly a helpful approach for the Lenten Season as well; if we believe that God wants to work a miracle of transformation for each one of us during the liturgy, then the season of conversion and baptism seems like the perfect opportunity.
So, how about you, are you a "give up something" or a "do something" kind of Catholic during the Season of Lent?
Remember to "put your whole self in."
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.