On this 1st Sunday of Lent, Year B. February 21, 2021.

Dear Sisters and Brothers of Saint Therese Parish,
 
Recently I was listening to a TED talk on YouTube. The speaker was Anne Lamott. The title of her lecture intrigued me: “Almost Everything -Notes on Hope”. She was speak-ing about life lessons she has learned and one of them is: “Almost everything will work again if you unplugit for a few minutes, including you”.I couldn’t help but smile at that insight. How true is that?
 
We have now entered the season of Lent, a time to perhaps “unplug” for a little while. It is of course a season of grace, a desert journey of the heart, maybe a time to give more generously of time or treasure. A lot of us “give up stuff”, like fasting from sweets or al-cohol. Some of us make the intention to attend daily Mass and go to confession. All good. And some of us -maybe most of us -are coaxed gently by the Spirit away from “self-improvement programs” to a deeper “unplugging” of something we have been car-rying around for a very long time.
 
You may be familiar with the poetry of Mary Oliver. She has a beautiful poem entitled “Wild Geese” which begins: “You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees. For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.”The poem goes on but it’s message is clear -our hope is in the mercy of God. We do not have to carry forever the baggage of sins and imperfections and lost opportunities. We do not have to carry an image of God who is forever displeased by even our best efforts.
 
Yes, Lent is a time to “unplug”. It will be unique for each of us even as we gather in these forty days of prayer and quieting; listening intently to the movement of the Spirit who frees us. It is all about the mystery of grace. It is all about hope.
 
So let’s pray for each other. Let’s go into the depths of things and not be afraid. We will only find mercy.
 
Blessings and peace,
Father Bob, C.P.