The Call of ... Lent: Stop and take off your shoes

The Call of ... Lent is the Valley Sun's Lenten series on the messages of Christ's death and resurrection as interpreted by area religious leaders.

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Have you noticed that it's springtime? Life is renewing itself right in front of you — can you see it happening?

Have you taken time to stand before a blooming fruit tree and marvel at the beauty of God's creation or watched colorful spring flowers pushing up into light in your own garden and wondered at the strong and consistent rhythms of nature?

Have you noticed that “earth's crammed with heaven and every common bush afire with God”?

Have you been moved to take off your shoes — or do you simply continue going about your work, eyes, ears and hearts closed to the presence of God surrounding you?

God meets us in the fabric of our lives, in every experience of beauty, kindness, disappointment, discouragement, love or joy. We need only stop and take off our shoes; God will do the rest.

This beautiful season of springtime always coincides with the liturgical season of Lent — 40 days in the church year when we take time to prayerfully remember the journey of Jesus to Jerusalem where he will experience his suffering death and glorious resurrection. For the Catholic community, this time of Lent provides a more intense focus to daily living — a focus on prayer, generosity and self-discipline.

Here, on the hill at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, the signs of springtime are alive and well. On Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, our young women gathered together at Eucharistic liturgy to celebrate the paschal mystery — the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

Encouraged this year to be aware of the season of Lent as “springtime,” a time for renewing their spiritual life and personal growth, the girls are choosing to actively do something as opposed to the common Lenten practice of giving something up. Amazing support for this Lenten effort to “act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8) occurred at a student body assembly recently when a FSHA graduate, Nikki Nepales, Class of 2007 and a junior at UC Berkeley, returned to the hill to share the work she's been doing with the poor and homeless near the university. Urging the girls to get involved with helping others in need, she also stressed how important it was to be reflective — to think about the impact of their service and how they might be more effective ministers of justice, tenderness, love and humility.

To each in the Flintridge community this Lent, Nikki's message is clear. Certainly, do good to others; more importantly, take time to reflect on what you are doing and on the impact your efforts can have on the world that is your life. May each of us have eyes to see and a desire to take off our shoes and recognize God's spirit stirring among us.


Get in touch Sister Carolyn McCormack is president of Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy in La Cañada Flintridge.

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