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The Lenten season invites us to reflect and reaffirm our commitment to be consciously divine changemakers in this Body of Christ.

Thomas Merton wrote, “We do not find the meaning of life alone, we find it with another.”

I imagine how this message might influence how I enter into Lent. I plan to accept it as an invitation to consider the Dominican value of ‘Community’ and a time to contemplate what hospitality and stewardship of our world looks like, here, at Dominican Center Marywood at Aquinas College.

In an expansive view, consider: How do we live out our Baptismal promises to steward humanity in ways that are good, and aligned with God’s desires for a just world?

There are many ways of entering into Lent. Yet typically we choose to let go of something to make space for that which God is opening us to in this season.

Not only might we lay something down, but we might choose to take something up. Is there a particular spiritual practice or resource you have a desire to lean into for a time? What if your practice is to let go of something that has hindered or restricted your freedom in some way, and your Lenten experience is one of anticipatory joy at the wide open space of the beautiful wilderness you are walking?

The communities where we live are full of strangers who do not inhabit free or joy-filled spaces. People we encounter might be estranged from their own past, culture, and country, from their neighbors, friends, and family, from their true self and God.

Imagine the sense of insecurity felt by students at schools and universities around our nation in the dark days after yet another school shooting, like the one at Michigan State University. How might we be attentive to fears and concerns of students and educators, security and law enforcement everywhere, and on our own Aquinas College campus? May communities of faith encourage healing spaces, supported by deep listening to reimagine where safe and holy encounters may begin healing wounds of despair.

Consider the immigrants who feel like strangers in strange lands. Join us to uncover ways we each might hold open a hospitable and welcoming space where strangers can become friends. Our virtual book study beginning on Thursday, March 2, Infinite Country by Patricia Engel, focuses on one family’s painful search for a hospitable place to call home, a place where they can live without fear.

Join our Spirituality program coordinator, Sr. Diane Zerfas OP, in person, as she facilitates our Lenten program, Sharing the Lenten Encounter, beginning on Wednesday, March 15. This offering of contemplative prayer experiences and dynamic faith sharing will attune our hearts to where we sense God’s presence is guiding each of us.

Please gather with us as we seek radical encounter with God, our own selves, and other strangers longing to be invited into our hearts as friends.