“It’s Lent so we can’t say the A word!” My ears pricked to attention as I heard my youngsters discussing this in hushed tones. Cautiously, keeping my voice as steady as I could, I questioned them about what I had just heard.
My daughter looked at me very seriously and said, “Because it’s Lent, we can’t say the A word.”
“Um,” I muttered, “What A word?” (And where did you hear it and why would you say it and . . . )
“You know, Mom,” she whispered with a worried look on her face, “Alleluia.”
Picking my jaw up off the floor and trying to contain my laughter, I assured her that she was correct, but that it wasn’t sinful to say it in order to explain it to me. We discussed how Lent is a time of preparation, penance and focus on Jesus’ sacrifice to save us. The Church ‘puts the Alleluia to bed’ as a way to remind us that joy comes after the sacrifice of Christ.
My mind jetted back to other miscommunications when discussing the faith with my little ones . . . . When saying the rosary one day, my three year-old son said, “Mom, I thought monks don’t get married?” I confirmed his statement. Questioningly, he tilted his head and said, “Then how can she be ‘blessed are thou, a monk’s woman’?” Oh, goodness.
Words and accurate explanations matter. In discussing the meaning of Lent to one young man in RCIA I asked him to explain what I had just taught him. He replied,”I have to fast and not eat meat on Fridays.” That wasn’t exactly the take-away I was going for.
When we communicate the things we do for Lent and its meaning, it is important to remember that others don’t always hear us in the way we think we are expressing ourselves. After further conversation with that same young man, he expressed that during Lent we journey with Christ toward Calvary and ultimately the cross and resurrection by which we were all redeemed. Ah, now that is the message!
Have a blessed Lent, my dear readers. God bless you.
Copyright 2017 Mary Lou Rosien