Join the Journey! “Bend your knees, mend your heart, and lend your hands.”
The Third Week of Lent
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Gal. 3:28
In a response to the killing of George Floyd Pope Francis powerfully stated during his general audience of June 3, 2020, that “we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life.”
And in a tweet dated March 21, 2021, he said: “Racism is a virus that quickly mutates and, instead of disappearing, goes into hiding, and lurks in waiting. Instances of racism continue to shame us, for they show that our supposed social progress is not as real or definitive as we think.”
These are just two of many instances in which Pope Francis has spoken out against racism calling it sinful and evil behavior not becoming of the followers of Christ.
During the third week of Lent let us mend our heart by fasting from privilege and comfort; bend our knees by praying the Sorrowful Mysteries; and lend our hands as we strive for justice and equity for all.
- Mending our Heart by Fasting from Privilege and Comfort
- Most of us do not see ourselves as racists. We have BIPOC friends. We are careful in the language we use. We support BIPOC owned businesses. And yet we quietly support the status quo of white privilege.
- It is difficult and hard work to face the reality that our institutions and even our church are stained by racial prejudice and discrimination.
- During this week of Lent let’s fast from the comfort of our place of privilege and let’s honestly face the harsh reality of racism that permeates most everything we do.
- Bending our Knees while Praying the Sorrowful Mysteries
- Though white herself, Janet McKenzie has delved deep into the sin of racism and through her art confronts this evil. Her painting “sanctuary” is a striking rendition of Mary and Jesus as a Black mother with a teenage boy.
- Like Mary, many BIPOC mothers have lost their young sons to violence, sometimes even state sanctioned violence.
- During this week let’s pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary (https://www.mary.org/liturgical-celebrations/devotions/rosary#.YhK3POjMJD9) as we meditate on the suffering of Mary and Jesus and all victimized Mothers and Sons.
- Lending our Hands as we Strive for Justice and Equity for All:
- Grounded in the Gospel and Catholic social teaching, Pax Christi USA strives to be the “peace of Christ” in the world today.
You can learn about their anti-racism movement by visiting: https://paxchristiusa.org/racial-justice/
- You can learn about the work of The Basilica Equity-Diversity-Inclusivity Initiative at www.mary.org/edi. There you will find the Basilica EDI Position Statement as well as suggestions for ways you can get involved in this important work.
- The Basilica staff is reading Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla F. Saad. The book is broken up into four weeks, with each week offering a short daily reading and some reflection questions. Consider reading/discussing this book with family, friends, or neighbors.
- Mark your calendar for Basilica Seven Fates: Racial Healing Stations on May 22 at 1:00pm in The Basilica. This evocative and devotional prayer service invites us to meditate on the inequities caused by racism through sacred art, music, lived experience and prayer.
And please remember to be patient with yourself and others. Lent is not an endurance test or a time to prove our Christian stamina. Rather, Lent is a time to slow down and ponder what is essential to our faith and thus to our life as Christians. So pace yourselves. Give yourself and others some space. And above all be forgiving.