Yesterday morning I was at Nazareth House, a Christchurch retirement community, for Ash Wednesday Mass. This Wednesday Mass is a weekly appointment for me and I look forward to it and to the conversations with the residents before and after Mass.
As you would imagine many of the large group at Mass are much older than me with some nearing their one-hundreth Lent and aware that they have more Lents behind them than before them.
I suppose it’s inevitable that after dozens of Lents you could fall into the same old penitential routines with the same old giving-up and fasting over the six-week preparation for Easter.
However I’m inspired by the energy and passion for life in so many of those I meet at Nazareth.
In my little homily yesterday I spoke of Lent as springtime emphasising (as I did in yesterday’s FFF post) “now is the favourable time; this is the day of salvation.”
Now, today, the scriptures for the day after Ash Wednesday emphasis the bold and new choices that are offered to us with every moment: “I set before you life or death, blessing or curse. Choose life, then…”
The rest of my first day of Lent was mostly one-on-one conversations, spiritual direction sessions, a penitential snack with good company for lunch, a first-meeting conversation about life and faith with someone I had not spent time with before, and a few other bits and pieces with phone calls and emails.
Now it’s mid evening and I’m savouring the day’s many graces.
In these peaceful moments I’m grateful for the witness of the Nazareth community who in the midst of their struggles with old age sufferings have inspired me today, helping me to follow their example of choosing life in every moment.