Lent As: Hearing the Cry of the Poor
Alexander, Andy, S.J.
Waldron, Maureen McCann
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Text from the first three paragraphs of "Lent As: Hearing the Cry of the Poor"Each year, the Season of Lent is offered to us as a time of renewal. Usually, we take up this Lenten journey as the gift of personal renewal in terms of our relationship with the Lord. Our renewal becomes concrete when it comes down to self-denial which allows us to live our faith more authentically. The alms giving we do helps us express our gratitude and allows us to exercise generosity. However, Lent can also be a time to focus beyond ourselves. It can be a time of renewal that is offered us to hear the cry of the poor and grow in solidarity with them. Ultimately, this is spiritual renewal as well and helps us grow closer to our Lord who tells us that if we wish to love him, we must express that love as love for the least of our brothers and sisters.How can I make this Lent a time to hear the cry of the poor? It all starts with desire and a few choices. If we recognize a desire to be more attentive to the poor and to grow in affection for and solidarity with them, then it is likely that this is a grace we have received. Many things may have happened to open us to this grace, but it is important to name it and welcome it. Perhaps God has been offering us this grace for some time and preparing us to receive it this Lent. If we don't feel this desire, we can ask for it. We can ask our Lord to help us grow in a desire to hear better the cry of those most in need.Who are the poor? Who are most in need? Who are most pushed to the margins of neglect and powerlessness? It doesn't take a great social analysis to come up with some immediate answers in my own world and in the global situation today. Listening to the news - locally, nationally, globally - is a beginning. Who appears to be suffering? Who seems to be tremendously burdened? Not all the poor are in the news, but a sensitive scan of the news is a place to start.