Friday, March 02, 2007

Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the Lord, your God.
Joel 2:13a

As promised, I have a few words about the beginning of my Lenten journey.

However, before I launch into that... I'm sure you've noticed that I finally learned how to insert pictures into this blog. For the longest time I had been trying to put a picture on my profile. But, because I didn't read the directions fully, I was having trouble. *smile* Now that I've learned how to insert pictures, be prepared to see more.

Also, in case you're wondering who the people are in the pic, I'm the one in the center. The two guys flanking me are the two novices with the SM (Society of Mary - Marianist Brothers and Priests). This picture was taken at the end of our week-long, silent Advent retreat at Gethsemane Abbey in Kentucky. The gate leading into the monk's courtyard reads "God alone." That was a favorite phrase of our foundress Mother Adele (see post from Jan. 11, 2007 for information on her) so it seemed appropriate to take our picture there.

Now, back to Lent...

Some people say I'm a little strange. Lent has always been my favorite liturgical season (followed closely by the Triduum). You might ask yourself, "why?" Well, Lent has always been so meaningful for me. I was never much of an ascetic. Sure, I took on the usual "giving up" of something (and still do). But, I took on a different approach late in my college years. Instead of giving up something like candy or soda, I started really examining my life and saying, "what can be better?"

For me, Lent has always been a time to examine my relationships - with God, with others, and with myself. It's been a time for me to focus on bringing those relationships into "proper order." To reconcile all things to God and God's will for me. To rend means to tear apart, to separate, or to disturb (along with several other meanings). For me, Lent is a time to mentally "tear apart" so as to examine... and change.

This year is different, though. I have felt like this entire year has been Lenten, in a way. Because my Lent was always spent in self-examination and reconciling my life... and because that's what I've been doing since I entered novitiate, it's difficult to sense a real difference in Liturgical season. It's interesting... My year is very much about examining myself, my life, my relationships with God and with this community... and I'm thinking, "That's what Lent is for!" Hmm... but it brings me to another revelation...

Perhaps bringing all my relationships into "proper order" shouldn't be just relegated to Lent. Perhaps it should be a year-round practice...

Now, I find myself needing to create a new meaning for Lent... or better yet... finding out what Lent is for me... this year... as a canonical novice.

I haven't yet figured this out. But Lent is just beginning, so I have some time. *smile*

Blessings on your Lenten journey!

Sr. Nicole