• March 14, 2012

Lent: A Time to Rend our Hearts
to the Naked Need of Each Heart

by Marian West, vol­un­teer in Brooklyn, NY

At the start of this Lenten Season, we asked our­selves as a com­mu­nity how we’d like to journey together closer to Christ’s Cross, the Tree of Life and Love, and our new life at Easter. I appre­ciate very much the invi­ta­tion put forth: that, led by Mary, our Mother of Compassion, we go deeper in our mis­sion, instead of trying to add on to it with more prayer, more sac­ri­fices, more “stuff.” It is an awak­ening call to live fully what is given. To lock our ques­tions into the wood of the Cross and adore. To lay down our thoughts and wor­ries into the beau­ties and joys given within the blessed bound­aries of this day. To ask Jesus to reveal the won­drous mys­tery of Himself and our­selves to us, that we may be fully alive! To eagerly await Him. But where, how do I encounter Him? In the very con­crete: the face behind the door­bell, the voice behind the tele­phone ring. In the cry of Noelia, Gertrude, Maria, Toby, in the cheery wave of Carmen and Miguel. Lent: a time to rend our hearts to the naked need of each heart from each lonely corner in our neigh­bor­hood. To let our fast be feasting on Christ and feeding His hungry little ones. To let our very selves be com­fort food for our friends.

Friends like Maria, my Babbushka, my sweet Russian Grandmother. Every Wednesday, we go to visit her in a nearby Nursing Home. I usu­ally find her lying on her bed, resting peace­fully. On Ash Wednesday, how­ever, Maria looked dif­ferent. She was resting, but her brow was fur­rowed, pained by a night­mare or sad­ness. I sat beside her, noticing that her eyes were red and puffy. As she awoke from her inner world and came into our glance, she began to cry. “I been crying all the day, like big baby! Only crying.” “I just lie here all day. No work. No walk. No one. Just lie here. I like a lost lamb in the woods. A lost lamb. No home.” She cried and then began laughing. A big smile bub­bling over through her tears. She looked at me. “But you! You remember me! You come to find me here! You no forget me! You thinkin’ of me.” . She clasps her hands together, eyes twin­kling with joy and delight. “I growing now. I growing!"

Back to top