by Sr. Mary Thill, OSF
It’s that time of year again when I must ask myself what shall I do for Lent? (Full disclosure—I don’t like Lent!) Just the thought of it gives me pains where I don’t want them. I remember giving up potato chips one year when I was in grade school and was delighted to learn that Sunday didn’t count so I could enjoy them on Sundays and I did!
A nagging experience I’ve had lately is noticing how many times I judge/misjudge someone’s words or actions. I also am aware how common this is when I speak with others at home, work or even at play. I’m trying to clean up my act and have been inspired by an American theologian, Leonard Sweet, who wrote this: Our duty is not to see through one another, but to see one another through. I know that some professions require that people judge others like teachers, doctors, nurses, policemen and of course judges. I was a teacher and so are many of the Sisters in my community so I guess we come by this judging honestly, and actually were trained to do so for the betterment of our students and hopefully the world in which we live.
I think the time comes in our lives however, when we must embrace mercy and stop the daily grind type of judging and give one another a break. Recently I came across this quote from St. Andre Bessette which further got me thinking about this judging issue. Practice charity with your neighbor—and this doesn’t mean only to give money to the poor. There are many ways to practice charity. We could, for example, keep ourselves from examining our neighbor’s conscience. There is also visiting the sick, who often do not need money, but who need good advice to help them to get closer to God. I would add that this could also help us get closer to God which is one of the primary reasons for “doing” Lenten practices in the first place is it not?
There’s something about keeping myself from examining my neighbor’s conscience that strikes me as hilarious and possibly as a great thing to do for Lent in 2023. Repent and sin no more!