The owl responds … to fasting

 The Lenten discipline of Hungering for Life has really helped me enter into a flow – into what, and where, I do not know. But the journeying is good, very good. I feel as if I’ve grown new, healthy, strong wings and a new desire to fly.

I’ve been reflecting on the question

What is the fast Christ asks of you during this season?

It’s a BIG question that actually requires a whole myriad of small answers.And today I wrote a poem and – a first for me – drew that little sketch you can see near the bottom of this post. Drawing and then posting it – huge steps for me, both!

My reflection took me to Pope Francis (perhaps not the most obvious starting point) and his recent call for Christians around the world to forget about giving up chocolate, alcohol or coffee and instead to fast from indifference.

“Indifference to our neighbor and to God also represents a real temptation for us Christians. Each year during Lent we need to hear once more the voice of the prophets who cry out and trouble our conscience.” … ” “We end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own.”

I stumbled across something that the then Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio wrote as a Lenten Message for Buenos Aires, a month before he was elected as the bishop of Rome, (you can read it here) and the sketch and then the poem came from there.

globalisation of indifference photo

 Material and moral misery
are the common currency,
insidiously woven
into societal cloth.

The suffering of the innocent and peaceful,
Contempt for the rights of the fragile and vulnerable
And the dominance of money
                 human trafficking
Shock us to the core.

Hungering for Life,
young men, widows, orphans
reach out to touch the hem of His garment.

We look away.
And yet another coil of barbed wire is erected.

When I look at it now, I see I have not dotted the ‘i’ in indifference. I have chosen to  leave it as it is (big restraint from this little perfectionist!), because it brings home to me that indifference is indeed failing to notice and take care of the little things – people and their situations – in front of my eyes. To quote Pope Francis once more “whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades.”

Let us never grow tired of doing good. (Gal 6:)

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