A reflection by Mary Lou Edgar for the First Week of Lent 2023.
It seems impossible that it is already Lent. The year is going by quickly or possibly I am just getting older. I have been reading a great deal by Richard Rohr and although I am struggling a bit as it is new to me, I am finding it helpful.
I purchased a Scripture for Lent book and started to look at it. I was immediately struck by one of the starter prayers: “Lord, show me how to make good decisions and then be willing to learn what they ask of me.” I had just finished planning our next Children’s Chapel and the topic is choices. That really seemed to speak to me, and I thought maybe this should be my focus for Lent. My life has always been incredibly busy and taking time to make regular choices in life (what color do you want in the living room) has been pretty easy. I just did it. Of course, everywhere we lived was always similar. Maybe I wasn’t making choices as well as I thought!
Reading Something of Substance
When I started to think about spiritual issues and seasons such as Lent, I realized that giving up chocolate as I had done most of my life was like my decorator choices – it was rote. So, some years ago, I decided to read something of substance during Lent and also journal at least 3 times a week. When I began screaming at my kids because I didn’t have time and quiet to do this, I decided this wasn’t helpful. Then I decided to do something short with my children either at dinner or in the evening before they went to bed. Maybe we would talk about a social issue and relate it to something in Scripture. Not as satisfying as solitude so I could think, but it fit the bill. When I open myself to it, I actually always learn a lot from my kids! My children are now grown so I can truly choose and that is how I got to Richard Rohr.
One of my concerns has always been I don’t understand “as well as I should!” I now think that was a cop out. I was hiding. I have promised myself that I will read daily and think deeply about what Father Rohr has written. I will ask for help if I need it (and I very well might). I have been doing morning meditations released by him for a while and it has gotten much easier. I love being able to read a Scripture passage and think about that as well. I am a real neophyte at this, and I know many of you are much further along. Still, I invite you to consider your own companion on your journey. I will let you know at Easter how this all went. In the meantime, let’s pray for one another and support each other as we move towards our celebration of the Resurrection. That support is very important because who knows, I may ask you a question.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary Lou Edgar, MSS, is a clinical social worker who founded A Better Chance for Our Children, an adoption and foster care agency that works to find permanent homes for children in the foster care system. Mary Lou was the Executive Director of ABCFOC, but she is now retired. She graduated from Neumann University and Bryn Mawr School of Social Work and Social Research. She and her husband joined SsAM in 2021.