Lent: Time to Address our Dissonant Chords

Suzanne Cooke, RSCJ
Pope Francis sees Lent as a time “to remedy the dissonant chords of our Christian life.” I have been thinking about this understanding of Lent since Ash Wednesday.
Pope Francis sees Lent as a time “to remedy the dissonant chords of our Christian life.” I have been thinking about this understanding of Lent since Ash Wednesday. The other day I heard a homily in a local parish during which the homilist reminded us that we Christians were initially called People of the Way and the Christian movement was referred to as The Way based upon the well-known statement by Jesus: "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." There is much in our daily life that is jarring or inharmonious with the attitudes of Christ’s Heart. So, what are we to do?
 
As I have been thinking about this question, three ideas keep coming to me. One is from Dr. Lisa Miller’s Book, The Spiritual Child. In this study, the author explains that … “authentic spirituality requires reflection and the development of a road back to transcendence through the cultivation of our inner life, through prayer, meditation, or perhaps good works, intertwined with our general capacities of cognition, morality and emotion.”  The italics are mine. I think those of us who have had those moments of being caught off guard by beauty or drawn into a profound stillness or confronted by an undeniable sense that there is more to life than what is on the surface resonate with Dr. Miller’s image a road back to transcendence. I think this “road” is a path of searching and questioning. I think the search engages us at our very core and creates an openness to life. How are we using this time in Lent to remain sensitive to this call to mystery?
 
My second thought is something I read once by Madeleine L’Engle. “We draw people to Christ not by loudly discrediting what they believe, by telling them how wrong they are and how right we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all their whole hearts to know the source of it.” At some point, each person of the Way was drawn to this Light and Christ became the source of all wisdom. How am I, how are we this light for others? What actions might I or we be engaged in that blocks this light?
 
My third thought is that faith draws us into a transcendent mystery of our own and the world’s existence. As Sr. Illia Dello explains… “A dynamic universe provokes the idea and understanding of a dynamic God…This is a God who is deeply immersed in a love affair with the beloved, the creation which flows out of his divine heart…To live in the Risen Christ is to see the world with new eyes…to love from a new center of love…What happens in Jesus is to continue in our lives as well, if the Christ is the fullness of what our lives are intended to be.” Are we taking advantage of this season to spend time in stillness, to experience being loved? Are we moving out of this silence into the world with greater clarity so that we see our world with eyes of hope?
 
Lent is the time to refine practices that support us on our road back to transcendence as we respond to the Light who is Christ. It is the time to be more conscious of our actions if we want to remedy the dissonant chords of our being People of the Way.

Suzanne Cooke, RSCJ is Head of the Conference of Sacred Heart Education
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Schools of the Sacred Heart share in the educational mission of the Society of the Sacred Heart as articulated in the Goals and Criteria. The structure supporting Sacred Heart education in Canada and the United States includes the Conference of Sacred Heart Education and the Network of Sacred Heart Schools.  Together they provide services and programs to ensure vitality of mission for the member schools sponsored by the Society of the Sacred Heart.