Lent, Repent, Reinvent

Blog Published: March 9, 2011
By Sister Maxine

Ocean and HorizonToday is the first day of Lent, one of the major feast days of the Church. Traditionally it has been a time of “repentance.” It is not a time for guilt-inducement, to think about all the things we’ve done wrong or could have done better and feel bad. It’s an opportunity to look at our life in relationship with God, and make some real and positive change.

One of the practices that I’ve heard people say they’ll be doing this Lent that appeals to me is to greatly reduce multitasking. They’ve talked about it as being being present to one thing at a time. For example, to not read a book while watching TV and checking Facebook messages. For me, the focus will be on reducing “mental multitasking,” so that when I spend extra time talking with someone, I’m not also, in the back of my mind, worrying about phone calls I have to make, the paperwork piling up on my desk, and the meetings I need to prepare for. I will repent of my distractions.

It would be a way to make a fresh start, to begin again. Lent gives us this opportunity to reinvent, to recreate ourselves into the persons that we are called to be by virtue of our baptism. It is an opportunity to tap into that which makes us most uniquely and fully who we are.

And we do not so this alone. With us is our Christian community and the communion of saints and holy people who have gone before us “marked with the sign of faith.”

Let us keep one another in prayer during this sacred season. If you would like the A Nun’s Life community to join in prayer for persons or situations in need of a sacred reinvention, please comment below.

Archived Comments

Another Sister Julie, CSSF March 9, 2011 at 1:30 pm

Okay, so I know that Lent is not the “Catholic Dieting Season,” but our provincial minister has asked us to stand in solidarity with the poor we serve in the Amazon mission in Brazil. We Felicians have been asked to weigh in today and every Wednesday of Lent, send the number of pounds lost to her. The province will donate $1 for each pound lost to these missions. The chart where we record our weekly losses is (appropriately) in the dining room, and it reads “He must increase. I must decrease.” (Of course, this is only for those sisters who can afford to lose weight!) Here’s the irony. I announced this at the Mardi Gras ice cream social last night! Here’s to happy sacrifices and Lenten smiles.

Sister Julie March 9, 2011 at 4:17 pm

A great way to end Mardi Gras and begin Lent! Fast on, Sister!

Sister Maxine March 9, 2011 at 6:49 pm

Totally great idea! 

Cate March 9, 2011 at 6:37 pm

I am laughing out loud here at the notion of the “Catholic Dieting System” ! And, I applaud your lenten plan that does potential good for those who become healthier and those who receive a donation of extra funds to meet their needs. The creativity that Lent brings out in so many people is a delight to me. As a child, most of my friends gave up candy for the lenten season ~ some taking it more seriously than others! Some used their creativity to find ways to sneak candy into their lunch boxes! As a young Nun, one of my Sisters chose to give up something different every day of the Lenten season. She simply hated the notion of having to give one one particular item for ALL the Season! So, she came up with a different item each day! Now … that was creative!!!! As novices who were so sick and tired of trying to adhere to so many rules, and finding our rebellion slipping out from beneath the pages of our breviaries, some of is chose quietly eat meat every Friday of the Lenten season! I am laughing aloud again here! No, God did not stike us dead! Last year, a dear friend of mine challenged me to write ~ and so I did. By the end of the Lenten season, I had two works that would end up being published, and several more that were still evolving or looking for their proper home! This season of preparation ~ this invitation for creativity and renewal ~ it can be so life giving! It is a reminder to me of the generousity and connectedness of life!! May we all join in the joy of the journey!

Marg March 9, 2011 at 8:12 pm

I’ve been thinking along the same lines about writing some meditations during Lent, Cate. Thanks for the invitation to join in the journey! Maybe journaling, maybe a couple of potential blog posts. The challenge for me is to keep it short and succinct as well as meaningful. Of course, having said that, my mind is a complete blank about what to write about. But God does provide inspirations, even in the little green shoots that are bravely pushing up beside our front door.

cate March 9, 2011 at 10:55 pm

Ah Marg … those little green shoots … they inspire me and delight me every Spring! 

Sister Maxine March 9, 2011 at 6:55 pm

Lent as invitation for creativity and renewal — a wonderful way to approach the season!

LeeAnn March 10, 2011 at 8:22 am

Cate and marg… I thought of the writing thing, too because I can’t seem to make myself do it any other way. And yet I still couldn’t take that big step of promising it to God for Lent. But reading these comments this morning made me re-think it. I may be a day late, but I chose (as one obligation) giving up cursing and I messed that up several times yesterday already (it’s so subconscious with me since my stint in the factory–such a potty mouth). Writing 45 minutes every day… whether I post or not is another subject, but writing for sure….. (thanks, Cate).

claire March 10, 2011 at 8:44 am

An opportunity to reinvent, to recreate ourselves into the persons that we are called to be by virtue of our baptism… How much I like this idea. Thank you for the inspiration.

Marsha West March 10, 2011 at 12:08 pm

I love Lent – one more chance to start over and get it right. I’ve concentrated the last several years on adding something productive to my lenten observance rather than giving up something. However, I’ve been challenged this year to return to the traditional “giving up” mode – and (knowing that God wills health for me and I work against his will when it comes to eating), I’m going to try to live without that best of all foods, bacon. And knowing that I need to live more “mindfully,” I’m trying to avoid multitasking. (Strange that scripture omits naming this sin, isn’t it?)

On the positive side, I am going to try to live in more conscious awareness of what I’m doing as I do it. I am motivated by two of my favorite “saints,” Dorothy Day, who spoke often of the “duty of delight.” And Catherine Doherty who advocated that we focus on “the duty of the moment.” And by a blog post I read yesterday, from the Visitation Monastery of North Minneapolis, on “the doorbell agenda.” So (besides avoiding bacon), I will try to live mindfully and joyfully in each present moment, leaving one thing for the next peacefully and without resentment.

Sue March 10, 2011 at 1:22 pm

What a wonderfully inspiring ideal: “Lent gives us this opportunity to reinvent, to recreate ourselves into the persons that we are called to be by virtue of our baptism. It is an opportunity to tap into that which makes us most uniquely and fully who we are.” Thank you, Sr. Maxine.

Like others have posted, writing was the first thing I thought to do. God, working Himself and through friends, has been calling me to get serious about several writing projects I’ve had on hold. I like the idea of committing to daily work on them during Lent.

The good thing is that doing anything for a few weeks will make it a habit. I think that is why God gives us seasons like Lent. It is not to make temporary changes (the old giving up _____ forLent routine). It is to make effective, long-term or permanent changes in our lives. Please pray for me as I pray for y’all.

marla March 10, 2011 at 2:40 pm

i need reinvention, but you guys already know that. my faith is small, my trust is smaller, but i am working on listening to god this lenten season. i also plan to pray daily for my siblings, specific prayers, asking for them all those things i would like to ask for myself. looking at my family life, or the lack thereof, i hope to just let go of all the worry, anger and resentment that go with being abandoned by my siblings and concentrate on my relationship with god–because, while i want my siblings to see to my many needs, only god really can.

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