A Different Kind of Lent

God has very gently but definitely decided that our plans for Lent should be different from what we had expected. It happens every year, but as always, there is something we could not have foreseen, an entirely new twist. It all began with a mega-migraine for Quietnun. By Shrove Tuesday every thought of carnival and pancakes had disappeared and the monastery had assumed a Lenten simplicity and seriousness. The spareness inside matched the cold spring sunshine outside.

On Tuesday evening came news that a dear friend, who had spent twenty-three years as a nun but who had had to leave for health reasons, was in a hospice, in the final stages of a long, slow death from cancer. Tuesday night was spent praying for her; at mid-day on Ash Wednesday we heard that she had died. Her Lent now over, surely she will soon be Eastering with the saints for ever.

As I walked to church, I could not help reflecting that we had entered the mystery of death and rebirth we shall celebrate at Easter; had already experienced something of our own human frailty; were being asked to hope in spite of all. The ashes we received were made from the palms carried in procession on Palm Sunday last year: a reminder that human triumphs do not last very long, only God is eternal. I thought, too, that the love of the Lord is everlasting and his mercies new every morning. This Lent we are called to live in awareness of his mercy in a way we never have before. God has written our Lent Bill.

(Please see the Shrove Tuesday post for an explanation of what a Lent Bill is; and I didn’t get Leviticus, I got St John’s Gospel.)


6 thoughts on “A Different Kind of Lent”

  1. Thank you for introducing me to the Lent Bill. In previous years I had thought it better to keep my Lent resolutions to myself, but this year I have adapted your monastic practice and opened up a discussion about how we might think about Lent together in our household and neighbourhood.
    Allie this is my first Lent after a renewal of faith so you will be in my thoughts and prayers.
    Quietnun you are also in my prayers for a speedy recovery. Please don’t say you got Leviticus and migraine!

  2. Patricia ~ thank you so much xx

    I found the Ashing service very moving and significant
    My prayers for your friend Sr C, may she rest in the peace of Christ .
    So nice to feel we are all journeying together is spirit, whatever our location!

  3. I hope it’s not disrespectful to say that my Lenten Bill is reading your blog. I think I am getting off very easy. So far I find your entries rich, thoughtful, and kind (without sour humorlessness).

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