For many of us, it’s been a strange Lent. With schools closing, public Masses suspended, and businesses shutting their doors due to a pandemic, this has truly been a season of penance — just not the penance we would have chosen. I’ve noticed that, with the upheaval of my normal routine, life has simplified quite a bit. However, even though life has become simpler, more noise than usual has crept in. From the ceaseless chatter of the news cycle to the “good” noise of Catholic groups offering livestreaming opportunities for prayer and education, there seems to be a constant hum in my head or on the computer screen. While I have continued my chosen Lenten practices (for the most part), it has become difficult to quiet myself for prayer amid the chaos of the world.
We have just entered Holy Week, and now is a great time to dive back into the prayerful practice of Lent. Yes, we can follow external practices, like giving up sweets or social media, but if we don’t bring silent prayer and penance, aren’t we missing the point a little bit? If we find ourselves so focused on all of the external noise of the world that we forget to meditate on our crucified Savior, isn’t there a problem? In the past few weeks of the pandemic, I’ve found myself experiencing both of these problems. But it’s not too late to dive into Lent.
Every year, the beginning of Holy Week is my wake-up call. The Palm Sunday liturgy is my reminder that I can still intensely sink into the beautiful mystery of redemption as I ponder the sacrifice of Christ. This year is no different. More than ever, I need silent, reflective prayer this year!
Therefore, I’m taking small steps to quiet my life and embrace prayer this week. If I wake up a little earlier to grab some prayer time, if I turn off my computer and pick up spiritual reading, and if I immerse myself in the Liturgy and Scriptures, perhaps I will be able to more thoughtfully prepare myself for the Passion of Christ and the great feast of Easter.
Regardless if we’ve been nailing our Lenten practices or if they’ve fallen by the wayside, let’s all take a few minutes today to steep ourselves in solitary, silent prayer. Gazing on Christ, may we all experience His deep love and mercy as we enter into this holy time!
Copyright 2020 AnneMarie Miller