By. Sister Sharon Havelak
Trying to be a person of integrity in one’s actions, mindful of the fate of our planet and its occupants, both human and animal, seems a daunting enough task. But then Lent comes along, with its focus on personal conversion. Just what does a peace activist do?
The words of the prophet Micah (6:8) offer some guidelines that I hope will be helpful for me this season, “…what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
To do justice. It’s so easy to become an “expert,” to read up on the issues of the day, to try to grasp the complexity of our world situation, to form an opinion of what needs to be done. In the end, however, I’ll be judged by what I do. What does it mean to “do justice” on a day-by-day basis, keeping in mind the desperate situation of most of my sisters and brothers around the world and yet managing my work-a-day world with its every-day tasks, its own hurts and problems?
To love kindness. It’s also easy to love abstractly. It’s another matter to open myself to the person who looks suspicious, to be patient with the person who doesn’t seem to understand, to be gentle with someone who needs care when I’m feeling needy. How can I keep encouraging my best self to come forward, to love in spite of myself, to remember that the legacy I want to leave is the number of lives I’ve touched, the hearts that I’ve held sacred?
To walk humbly with my God. This is the easiest and hardest. God is with me (and everyone) always, never separated under any circumstances. Unless I separate myself from God. Accepting that unconditional love is sometimes difficult. How can I remind myself – all day, every day – of that gift? How can I walk each day in the humility of knowing how small I am in the big picture and yet how great I am because of God in my life?
Because of my schedule this week, I’m writing this at work, amid a flurry of distractions. I’m always amazed at who can innately seem to realize when I most don’t want to be bothered – and proceed with their own agenda. And I haven’t always responded well in the last hour or so. I guess that’s why I need Lent this year more than ever.