Written by: Bro. Brian Poulin
Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent
There are different kinds of endings we face in our lives. Some are jarringly sudden. Other endings transpire unobserved and only become apparent in hindsight. Sometimes its nice to have advance notice.
With that in mind, I would like to announce here to my readers that I will be bringing this blog series to a close with June’s post. As such, there are only two more to go after this one. Several people have expressed appreciation for this blog over the past few years, and I think that in some ways it has also been good for me, despite the burden it has also been. As somebody who does not tend to journal, writing in this public way often required me to capture thoughts that had already been whirling around my head and clarify them for others. I’d be surprised if I ever got to the point of missing this regular endeavor, but I don’t begrudge having done it and I imagine it has also benefited me in some ways.
One of my great challenges in exercising adequate self-care is my tendency at times to take on too much. I like to be productive and I find value in pretty much every individual responsibility or engagement I take on. It is not hard to recognize on the theoretical level that too many good things are still too many things. So how do I move forward? Determine what to drop, and also reduce, share out, or do some other things differently so as to steadfastly carry forward that which is most essential while also making energy for new initiatives.
Prioritizing can be hard work for somebody who doesn’t like to say no. Part of my general attitude in ministry and particularly in vocation ministry has been to say yes to any opportunity I can. Those of us who are Catholic may feel tempted to always say yes to any given request in the belief that we are following Mary’s example as at the Annunciation. We must remember though that Mary did not necessarily say yes to everything — she said yes to what God was asking of her. And at times, saying yes to God must have also meant saying no to other things. We need to remember that saying yes to God does not mean saying yes to our compulsions, to ego, or to our desire to please others.
Lent has been a time for many of us to rediscover the importance of saying no. Hopefully though, we remember the values that motivated whatever sacrifices we made during this season so we can be clear on what we’re actually saying yes to. Strengthening our values in this way will hopefully leave us feeling renewed once we end our particular temporary disciplines. After all, Lent is ending too.
So yes, I am looking forward to offloading thig blog, and I am hopeful that relief from this particular initiative may translate to some other good. After all, there is both a time for ending and a time for starting. Let us give thanks to God through it all.
There’s no deep significance to this month’s ‘ear candy.’ But as we approach the end of Lent 2023, the end of this blog series, and who knows how many other endings, it’s only natural to have a bit of a countdown. The ‘brain food’ details a moment that indigenous peoples have been awaiting for a long time with regards to the Catholic Church.
Ear Candy: “The Final Countdown” by Europe
Brain Food: “Vatican Formally Repudiates ‘Doctrine of Discovery’ Used to Justify Colonization” by Christopher White
Come back on the first Saturday of next month for a new post!