At this midway point of Lent, you may be wondering: when will you know that your Lenten practices are having the desired impact? The Nuns discuss!
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And our first question comes in from Stephanie in Los Angeles. And Stephanie writes, "I've been doing really great about doing the things for Lent that I said I would -- for example, going to church every Sunday, and being careful to not waste water when so many people don't have any water to drink. But shouldn't something be happening by now? It's almost the middle of Lent, and I don't feel any different from when Lent started. It's really disappointing. Is there anything else I should be doing?" Well, Stephanie, thank you so much for that question. And, you know, it's a tough thing. So here she is, faithful to her Lenten practices. And she's not feeling anything happen. I mean, shouldn't we expect something to happen as a result of all this stuff? I mean, of our spiritual practices, Lenten, otherwise?
Good question. You know, we are a society, are we not, where we want some gratification? We've done this, and we've made this commitment for Lent, and shouldn't there be an experience in which we really feel something different? I think part of the part of responding to God's call is also being a little sometimes countercultural, where we have to go against that whole concept of immediate gratification. And so you're doing things for Lent. That's wonderful. Continue, even though you don't see the benefit. Change, first of all, takes a good amount of time, before we can actually see it. You know, I use the example of It's like learning how to swim. At first year in the water flailing around, etc. What at some point x number of weeks or months later, you look back and go, "Now, why did I think this was so hard?" So I think that's the same kind of thing. And there's another element I would like to bring in for you, Stephanie. The idea that change occurs slowly is one of those pieces. But along with that: faith is the ability to say, "I'm going to continue to do this, even though I don't see the effect." But it's the faith that says, "I do this for six weeks. And maybe then I will see the effect." I think that's what faith is all about: where we walk into the future, not 100% sure, because that's faith. Surety is another issue. But that's faith.
And even the point of starting something at Lent. Just because Lent has an ending -- but what we commit to doesn't. It's a good start at Lent. But it doesn't mean it has to end -- you know, by the end of Lent, everything should be done spiritually, that you set out for. So I agree, that issue of timing for Stephanie is pretty critical. Now, Sister Connie, do you think Stephanie should have some kind of sense that things are moving in the right direction? How could she know all of these practices that she's doing?
Well, I think I shared a little bit earlier about the ripple effect of doing small acts of kindness, like saving water, so on and so forth. But the Spirit is at work in us at all times. And we may or may not be aware of it at the time. We go back to the statement of our foundress, Catherine Kasper, that no act done in God's name is too small. And we don't always see the effects of that. I was a teacher for 10 years and a principal for 10 years also. So 20 years altogether. And it's only now, as I meet students that I had 20 years ago, that I'm learning the wonderful things that they're doing in their life, you know, becoming pharmacists, and nurses and all kinds of wonderful things. So we never know, down the line, what impact we have. And I believe one of the things that I'm really trying to do myself is to ask God to help me move from the head, thinking about Lent. -- to think you know, what do I see, what am I feeling, so on and so forth -- to move to the heart, where God abides. That is to really sense God's love every day and to trust in that in that presence that is making the difference whether I see something or not.
You raise the image of water and the ripples again. And so her issue of concern is she's becoming more mindful of people who don't have any water to drink. How might Stephanie be able to go to another deeper level with that? You know, she's following the practice, which is really great. She's being mindful. But how can she take that from being an external practice that has great value to an internal kind of a thing? You know, we think about water as baptism, regeneration -- how might that very symbol help Stephanie along her journey?
You know, Stephanie, I think that one of the things that you could do is to spend that time in prayer and reflection. Because God moves in us through that time of prayer and reflection, and it might not always feel that way. But I think, in order to bring it to a different level, you give that back to God. And you turn that around to say to God, "God, I would like to see some effect here. I would like to see the change that occurs. But it might not be now. Lead me, lead me in how you want this to go into the future." I will continue to have that reflection, and that prayer time, to really lead a reflective life, so that God can move -- and that you can recognize that God moves in your life. I think sometimes it's really about praying for the eyes to see those kinds of things happening in your life. So those are a couple of suggestions.
Another one, another thought that I had is, with Katherine Casper, she would take that reflection, and her listening, and then her attentiveness, and turn it into courageous action. So what are some things that you can do besides turning the faucet off to save water? How can you bring water to others? Or how can you bring food to others or whatever. So whether it's spending some time in a soup kitchen, or giving bottles of water to people that you see on the street that are standing on the corner, begging, or whatever it might be -- just something so simple as that is the action. It's putting into action that faith that you're looking to find some outward sign. So moving from the listening to the action is a really strong piece for me,
And it may be in all of this, Stephanie, that you're sensing a deeper calling to engage with this issue through activities, and also through additional research about what are the needs of the world when it comes to fresh water. It's a critical need in our world. And you folks have work that you do in ecology. Certainly all of these issues are connected. So it may not be any coincidence, Stephanie, that here you are in the midst of your Lenten practice, and maybe it is the thing that's calling you forward. And to give yourself to it.
There are organizations also, and I can't think of the name right now. It slips my mind. But it's like a sponsorship of either digging wells in other countries, or providing the filter kits in other countries that provide clean drinking water. We have a sister in Germany that is helping us do some of that in some of our other countries. And it slips my mind right now. But you can do some research.
And Stephanie, being from California, you may be even more aware than other folks because that state does so much in regard to water. So please know, Stephanie, that we'll hold you in prayer. Don't give up your Lenten practice. Just hang in there. Keep going. Let God guide you. Try a few more things and know that we will keep you in our prayers moving forward.
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