Have you decided what you will do to mark the Lenten season yet? In recent years I have bounced back and forth between giving something up or taking something on – sometimes I try to do one of each. On Ash Wednesday I settled on something we have talked about at staff meetings now and then, which is assuming good intentions. For me, this means a basic assumption that someone with whom I may not agree has good intent at the heart of their action, even if I don’t share it or even understand it. Then, a few days later I figured out a need to add another thing. It’s clearing away busy work in order to get to the important stuff. This means resisting getting lost in those millions of little things that eat up my time leaving me to wonder where the day went. Obsessing over a project because it’s not perfect; getting buried in paperwork without figuring out if there’s a better way to tackle those piles; getting annoyed by a silly Facebook post that’s truly not worth my energy – you get the idea.
In his Ash Wednesday homily, Pope Francis wondered if we are living for fire or for the ashes. He referred to the ashes as a reminder that all we chase after, obsess over or accumulate in this life will be worthless when we are called home to God. This Lent, I will try to make more room for the fire. This week, I invite you to think about what your fire is in life – where do you find the most energy and passion? What is truly important? Then, resolve to brush the rest aside and spend more time living in that light.