11 February 2016
← A Beginner’s Guide to Approaching Lent
A Beginner’s Guide to Approaching Lent
And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
At the time of Lent, I often talk to students about making a commitment or making a sacrifice. In terms of making a commitment, it can sometimes be difficult to know where to start. I therefore offer the above short passage from the prophet Micah as perhaps a “Beginner’s Guide to Approaching Lent”!
But, let’s be honest…it’s nice to say things like this, and it’s nice to reflect on these words and how lovely it would be to act more justly during Lent, to love more tenderly during Lent, and to walk more humbly during Lent...but how do we do these things?
Let us look at each one separately and how we might have a go at it...
To act justly – this phrase asks us to try even harder than usual to treat people fairly. Here are some examples:
- Let your little brother/sister have the ice-cream before you.
- Even if you think your shot was in, walk to the back of the line in handball if it will make life easier for your mates.
- Say a prayer for the 37 babies heading to Nauru. (There were 37 booties placed at the front of the College on Ash Wednesday yesterday to show that we are thinking of them at this time.)
- Volunteer for the Paddies' Van.
To love tenderly – this phrase asks us to think about the most important people in our lives and to show them we love them. Here are some examples:
- Do your homework/walk the dog/tidy your room/unpack the dishwasher without being asked five times.
- When you’re asked at the dinner table how your day was, give an answer of at least one full sentence, including one thing you actually did.
- Say thank you to your teacher on the way out of the classroom.
- Tell your mum, dad, grandma, grandpa (and maybe even your brother or sister) that you love them.
To walk humbly with your God – this phrase is difficult to understand, but it asks us to put others before ourselves, to remember that God is with us, and to know that we are serving God when we serve others. Here are some examples:
- At a quiet moment in class, look around. If there is someone who is struggling with something being taught, see them after class and ask if you can help – no-one else needs to know.
- When you’re playing on the oval, look around the outside of the oval for anyone not playing, sitting by themselves. Invite them to join in.
- Give up your seat on the bus or train for someone who would appreciate it.
- Come to Mass one Friday morning, bring a friend and sit quietly at the back if you like – enjoy the peace and quiet of the Chapel for half an hour.
Of course, these are things we could and should do all year round, but every now and then, a little reminder is handy, and Lent offers us this reminder. If you’re a student and reading this, firstly thank you to both of you – I hope you take some of these on board and I wish you well. If you’re an adult and reading this, perhaps you can come up with your own list for this Lenten period. All the best.