Human beings are creatures who can drift away from who we are at our best. We make mistakes, show poor judgment, or operate from a wounded place. In such moments, we add to the world’s dysfunction and even unwittingly contribute to harm and injustice, despite our best efforts not to. This dynamic seems to be part of our human experience, which suggests that we would be wise to walk through the world with an ample supply of humility and that we need a community to hold us accountable.
Recognition of this human tendency that plays out in our individual and collective lives is at the root of the Christian practice of Lent, which begins this coming Wednesday, February 14, with the celebration of Ash Wednesday. The annual season of Lent is a communal practice that invites Christians to a time of intentional pause to reflect on ways that we may have gone astray in our habits and caused harm to our relationships. Lent is a season when we join our mindful attention and willpower together with the healing and restoring mercy and love of God. Through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, we seek to realign our lives with what we value most. (Learn here about plans for DePaul Ash Wednesday Services and Lent.)
I wonder what regular practices and habits in our work environment might play a similar role in helping us rectify ways we have fallen off course. Perhaps we might benefit from auditing how we have strayed from our mission, developed habits of relating and working together that are ineffective or even harmful, or allowed ourselves to drift into a state of “just going through the motions.” Perhaps, as an institution founded in the Catholic tradition, we might also use this season of Lent for organizational purposes to reflect on how we can refresh our work with new positivity, creativity, and efficacy.
The season of Lent runs from Ash Wednesday on February 14th through Easter on Sunday, March 31st.
Questions for reflection:
What might you commit to doing over these 6+ weeks (40+ days) to put your own house back in order, individually or collectively? How can you realign how you are living with what you value most?
Reflection By: Mark Laboe, Associate VP for Mission and Ministry