March 5, 2016

Today I find myself in the midst of a peculiar quandary.    The task before me seems simple enough: write a blog entry for the third week of Lent.  The world would seem to be my oyster.  (For those readers who are unaware, this is an idiom used in cases in which one has the freedom and ability to do what one desires.)  Even within the confines of reason, I could easily write about a myriad  of topics which would  be appropriate for this particular blog, during this particular Liturgical season.  Surely by now  the average reader is becoming impatient to discover what, precisely, is the difficulty.  Other readers have noticed the amount of space and time I have used up displaying my impressive thesaurus usage abilities and surmised the problem -- I have no idea what to write.  

What could I possibly say about anything which has not already been said (and likely better than I would say it)?  This is the only thing I can seem to find in my brain at the moment.  And yes, I have been praying to the Holy Spirit for enlightenment.  In the absence of any other desirable solutions, I have done what any ordinary teacher would do.  I have reached out to my budding theologians and mystics and asked them for some spiritual gems to share.  The first thing I got out of these conversations was the idea to waste a whole paragraph explaining nothing and impressing you with my large vocabulary. 
The second thing I got was a handful of great quotes to share with all of you.  What you will read next are some responses to the following question:

This Sunday the readings are about Moses and the fig tree which produced no fruit.  What does that have to do with Lent?  What does the Church want us to learn this week?

“As the fig tree was ordered to be a chopped down by a doubter, or you could say non-Christian, the faithful gardener said that it will produce fruit in another year. He said to be patient, and patience is a major key in the season of Lent, as we wait for our Lord and Savior to be crucified and rise again.  The Church wants us to learn and understand that great things such as the Resurrection don't come instantly, but rather take time to occur, or to bear fruit.”  -Nicho, 8th Grade

“The fig tree produces no fruit is like how we are humans who sin but during Lent we are not supposed to try not to.  The church wants us to learn that we are expected not just to give something up for Lent, but to sin less.”    -Sophia, 7th Grade

“Lent is about how Jesus was and how He loved us and would forgive us no matter what, and in Lent we are supposed to deeply pray to him and produce no sin like the fig tree produced no fruit.”    -Andrew, 7th Grade

“Moses and the fig tree have to do with Lent because when the sin of Adam and Eve was committed it was the leaves of the fig tree that was their clothes.  Here is a quote from Genesis 3:7.  ‘And I began to seek in my nakedness, in my part for leaves to hide my shame, but I found none, for as soon as I had eaten, the leaves showered down from all the trees in my part, except for the fig tree only. But I took leaves from it and made for myself a girdle and it was from the very same plant of which I had eaten.’”    -Justin, 6th Grade

I learn a lot from these kids.  They so clearly see the reminders of God’s Love and the necessity of avoiding sin in order to live in that Love.  I like to make things so complicated, but to them it can be so simple.   I teach them that Lent is not about doing anything different, it is a time of returning to how we are always meant to live.  I like to see Lent as a time to return to a more simple way of living.  To simplify could mean getting rid of unnecessary things or bad habits.  It could also just mean being more simple and childlike in my faith.  To be able to do what these kids have done and just let the Liturgy and my prayer speak to me and guide me to the Father’s Love without hiding behind big complicated obstacles or the beginning of this blog post.

- Sister M. Veritas, FSGM

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