Dear friends and family,
Sister Edna Hess • President, Sisters of the Precious Blood
The last time I wrote we were in the Advent/Christmas season and now we are entering the season of Lent. For us Christians it is a time of conversion, a time of repentance, a time of fasting. Lent leads us to Holy Week, one of the principal celebrations of our Precious Blood spirituality.
We find in the first readings of this season the invitation to fasting and a call to our conversion. Many of us as children were encouraged to fast by giving up candy or gum during Lent. Maybe if we were an ice cream lover we gave up ice cream or all desserts. However, Isaiah in chapter 58, verses six to eight, tells us what kind of fasting the Lord wishes of us:
This is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own. Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your wound shall be quickly healed.
(Isaiah 58:6-8, Reading from the lectionary for Friday, February 28)
How different these words of Isaiah, which invite us to look around and to help the disadvantaged, the suffering and the oppressed. It is not about us but about others.
In this edition of Sharing & Caring you will read about the Brunner Literacy Center, which was started by two of our retired educators, Sisters Maryann Bremke and Helen Weber. They saw the need of people who live in our Trotwood neighborhood for the opportunity to get their GED in order to get better-paying jobs, or maybe just to learn to read. They have lived out the invitation of God in the words of Isaiah. We do not have to begin something. Most of us will not do that, but during Lent and all year long we can reach out to our brothers and sisters in need.
This Lent is a good time not only to deprive ourselves of something we love, but to take our gifts, our talents and to use them for the good of the poor and oppressed, the hungry and the homeless. Giving of our time and our talents will help us to be light for our world. Today, more than ever, we Christians need to be persons of compassion and love. There is too much hate and division, too much individualism and not enough community.
Many blessings during this Lenten season and may we truly feel like resurrected persons on Easter morning along with Jesus who came to save us!