by Megan McKenna, Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace

Joel 2:12-18 | 2 Corinthians 5:20—6:2 | Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

We are ambassadors for Christ,
God as it were appealing through us (2 Corinthians 5:20).

AshWednesdayclipToday, again we begin the season of “the springtime of the soul.” And it must be our intent to live it light-heartedly, with wisdom’s light that is found both in the daylight and the dark of night. Christ is the Light, and in our tradition, the words for light, truth, and peace are almost interchangeable. And so we are ambassadors for the Light, the Truth, and the Peace that are the world’s greatest need and deepest longing. And while each of us carries this light in our bodies and souls, this Light is strongest and most clearly seen in conjunction with others. Together we reveal and extend this Light beyond our singular edges and places in the world.

We don’t often associate Lent with light, even though it is a season that calls us to concentrate on prayer, fasting, and alms-giving: all things associated with light. We are the children of God—the children of Light—and so prayer for us can be light sitting and standing in the Light and living in the Light. Fasting, hopefully, makes us light-hearted, freer, and graceful, giving us eyes to see others, earth, and what transpires in our world with wisdom, as God sees. And alms-giving lightens our persons and our life-styles and introduces us to sharing our excess with those who need it for survival as well as binding us together more deeply as human beings.

This season of Lent is a time for us to stretch our souls, stretch our hearts and minds, and stretch out our hands and spirits to be for and with others—to be ambassadors of light, truth-telling, and peace-making. The Maori people of New Zealand have a saying: “E hara taku toa I te toa. Takitahi, engari he toa takitini.” This means: “My strength is not mine alone, but that of the many.” This is the background of our Lent—solidarity and communion with others as we walk in the Light, sharing our hope and our freedom as the children of God moving toward the blinding Light of Resurrection. As the poet Antonio Machado says: “We make the way by walking.” Let us make our way these days together.

Who will be your companions as you walk ever deeper into the Light? Who will you pray with and for? Who will you fast with and be in communion with? And who will receive your almsgiving?

This reflection was written by Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace Megan McKenna. It is included in this year’s Lenten reflection booklet, The Light of Lent Through the Gospels: Reflections for Lent 2013, and available as a download for purchase from the Pax Christi USA website.

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