“But at least I am not in Ukraine.”
I have been guilty of comparing my life challenges to our brothers and sisters in Ukraine while I am filling my car up with petrol or fasting. Catching myself on these thoughts created the opportunity to flip the narrative for me this Lent. There was a real motivation to increase my focus on prayer and fasting for our brothers and sisters in Ukraine.
I confess that my Lenten journey has previously been limited to giving up something sweet, avoiding red meat on Fridays, and days of fasting was limited to Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
For many years, I decided that this was enough.
As a priest recently said in a homily, we make our own “Golden Calves” to worship regardless of the season we are in. What was the Golden Calf in my life that I built and worshipped before God? What am I prioritising over prayer or accessing the sacraments? More importantly, why I am avoiding giving all of myself when I have so much to give?
Growing up and living with my non-religious family comes with its challenges during this season. Exclusion of certain foods, days of fasting, and increased church activity makes for interesting conversations at the dinner table.
This was especially the case when I announced that I was going to church at 3am before a softball grand final day where I was expected to be present and active for 10 hours.
The idea of less than 8 hours of sleep was less than appealing, but this was the exact opportunity that I was seeking to extend myself spiritually and physically this Lent. It was a small sacrifice in the grand scheme of things; the sacrifice of sleep to give myself wholly to this special prayer event for the war in Ukraine.
Lent for me has widened the possibilities to practice self-denial and to offer prayers through fasting beyond this season of penance.
Every day, we can offer up our Golden Calves, our worries, and suffering to the ever-loving God in repentance, especially since our “sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18 NRSV).
We wish Catholic Youth Parramatta Project Coordinator Robyn Bailey well as she accepts a scholarship with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in South Korea.