It dawned on me that I may have yet to create a compelling case for observance of the penitential season of Lent.
Lent mounts a fire.
Like Vatican Council II lit a fire. It created a huge shift of the plates below the earth.
That historic Council that formed, shaped, and made me a student of, blew a wind of "fresh air," unlike any since perhaps the First Century.
All the worldwide bishops were invited and involved.
Younger clergy seem to know little of the Council, and more of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
There's a shift also.
Yet, Lent's influence to morph and mend my life these forty days until the glorious Holy Thursday's Mass of the Lord's Supper, stirs a change and conversion in me, and, in turn, in others.
At Mass yesterday, it seemed that participants were unprepared to have a plan for Lent.
A compelling argument was needed.
When the 'young Church' was asked to commit and come forth, little awareness of Lent lingered.
The preacher needed to go down another road, so to speak.
Lent needs to be born anew.
Like the Triduum, the highest holy days of the Christian calendar immediately before Easter's fifty-day season of joy through Pentecost Sunday.
When the charismatic renewal was the topic of my college thesis, experience and encountering the fire and fervor of the movement was key.
Life, the living, is like that, no?
Who wants a dead Church anyway?
How do I get people to want to mark moments of their living from ashes to Easter? To come alive in Christ this Lent?
To be renewed as Vatican's aim was "aggiornamento," and morphing within. Changing one's heart before we turned our altars.
Hearts are like that. Faith is.
Living blood rushes through that muscle, and more.
In keeping the heart moving with exercise that assures flowing blood, like the flowing water I watched Sunday afternoon from the window of a parishioner's home.
Like the waters of St. Clair flowing fast and freely along M-29, Twenty-three Mile Road in Algonac, Michigan, USA., Lent moves believers who enter its ebb and flow with a certain plan.
Less TV, no e-mailing, no social media, and blogs alone amid more praying, fasting, and alms giving for the most vulnerable in and outside the womb.
Over bread and an omelette yesterday at the home of a parishioner, the pace of the running river gripped my attention as I looked through the window of this publisher's home, her temple, her domain of Lent coupled with the shell of her nine-decades wise temple confidently cooking like the Christianity she limb and legs on with certainty.
And, with questions that contain the answers!
Pitched like a tent or a blade of grass, as the psalmist notes, Maria's probing of life's desolation and consolation filled and fueled our conversation between bites of the aroma-saturated olfactory nerves of my nose, fueled by the nourishment she gently prepared with patience, charity, and generosity of heart.
Lent is like that.
It stops me in my tracks.
Lent pauses me. Makes me reflect in a frenetic world and culture I inhabit too often.
Like my own dads' admonition to go play, to think less, to be more, I heed her every word.
Lent morphs me like two opposing locamotive engines on separate tracks.
Culture's track. And, the track of Jesus the Christ's call to be more, to be the best of my True Self as Trappist Thomas Merton suggests.
The False Self falls and dies to new life of Lent's steps, morphing me full circle. Full circle.
Complete turning. Completing, converting is like that.
Becoming whole, as Maria said. Spirit, mind, body. One Atonement. At-one-ment!
Only a living Word and tradition transcends a constitution etched in ink.
A living and pilgrim people of God comprise the Church.
All else is a museum.
A vibrant, living People of God are sustained by the Holy Spirit.
As firm and strong and sure as the Spirit spoken of by the late John Cardinal Dearden who attended all sessions of the Vatican Council from 1962-65 at the Vatican.
This in-between time of prayer, fasting and alms giving can be a clarion call, a Trumpet's sounding for a renewal of Vatican II. A council left in a book for many it seems.
Lent can be better.
"The Church gives birth to the Church every day," confessed the Vnerable Bede.
Making my Lent daily makes my day. All the days from ashes to Easter.
Like the evolving Trinity of Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier.
A blessing cup. Food for the journey.
A living Church at home.
In the domestic Church.
Where it began and seems to be going these days at home in the living Church there where we spend most time amid work and school, and more.
"Bless us, O Lord,
and these Thy Gifts,
Which we are about to receive
Through Christ, Our Lord.
Amen." + + +