By Sister Regina Siegfried, ASC

Now that Mardi Gras has beaded its way through Soulard, an old St. Louis neighborhood that hosts parades and Mardi Gras festivities that rival those in New Orleans, Lent sobers some of the citizenry into gazing both inward and outward.

But sometimes, there are too many good things. I arranged all the Lenten reflection booklets and pamphlets on a table in the back of my church, sorted through a myriad of materials that the Adorer community had provided, and prepared a list of resources for the adult formation class I teach at the parish. It’s an embarrassment of riches.

What’s essential about Lent?

While print and digital media are helpful, they also can overwhelm and distract, and what are intended to be aids to reflection become the goal of the Lenten journey. We might become more focused on accumulating stores of reading material than pondering an inner journey to renew our relationship with God and others.

Lent, 2016 (1)

I find it more helpful to concentrate on a few simple things: a bowl of ashes, a container of seeds for the garden, a crucifix, and daily efforts to reach out in acts of love and kindness to those all around me. One of my favorite Lenten activities, when the time and both inner and outer weather are right, is to rake out a flower bed and ponder a healthy cleansing of the spirit.

Each of us can create ways to make the 40 days of Lent a nourishing path to becoming more and better than we are now.