This year’s Lenten season begins tomorrow, and with it taking place in the midst of this ongoing pandemic, in which we have already given so much up, I can’t help but think of the opening line from a wonderful poem by Madeleine L’Engle: “It is my Lent to break my Lent.” In case you are not familiar with it, here is her poem:

For Lent, 1966 by Madeleine L’Engle

It is my Lent to break my Lent,
To eat when I would fast,
To know when slender strength is spent,
Take shelter from the blast
When I would run with wind and rain,
To sleep when I would watch.
It is my Lent to smile at pain
But not ignore its touch.

It is my Lent to listen well
When I would be alone,
To talk when I would rather dwell
In silence, turn from none
Who call on me, to try to see
That what is truly meant
Is not my choice. If Christ’s I’d be
It’s thus I’ll keep my Lent.

This year, perhaps we should follow L’Engle’s advice in this poem – eat when we should fast, know when slender strength is spent, but also not ignore the pain around us. And, if we do that, then perhaps we should also choose to listen well, as she suggests, to turn from none who call on us, and to live each day knowing and trusting that we belong to Christ. Blessings to you this Lenten season.

This poem and many other wonderful poems of L’Engle’s can be found in this collection of her poetry: The Ordering of Love: The New and Collected Poems of Madeleine L’Engle

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