Sister Jeanne Ann Weber – Reminders of Lent

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Sister Jeanne Ann Weber – Reminders of Lent

I need reminders of the Lenten season and what it means to me.  Fortunately there are helps surrounding me.  As I enter the chapel, I see the African milk-tree, also known as the cathedral cactus.  I don’t get too close to it because of its irritating spines.  It reminds me of the desert where Jesus was tempted and where the Israelites pilgrimaged for forty years.  It reminds me of the prophet Hosea who says of God:  “I will lead her into the desert and speak to her heart.”  This quote reminds me of purification, solitude, and God’s enduring love.

African Milk Trees - photo by Sister Jeanne Ann   The purple cloth under the milk tree pots remind me of this season, as well as the large clay jars calling me to be an empty vessel, desiring to be filled by God’s grace and love.  I miss all the lush and verdant green plants that usually fill our Chapel.  It is a time of simplicity, focusing on true priorities.  There are no organ meditations during the presentation and preparation of the gifts, during Communion, and no postlude at the end of the Eucharist.  We sing the chant Mass during the proper parts of the Eucharist.  There are no alleluias.  It is a time of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving – however we are called to do these Lenten practices.  True fasting can also be a time of feasting.  I always find this reflection helpful:           

Disciplines of True Fasting based on Isaiah 58:6-7

FAST from judging others;  FEAST on Christ dwelling in them.

FAST from emphasis on differences;  FEAST on the unity of all life.

FAST from discontent;  FEAST on gratitude.

FAST from anger;  FEAST on patience.

FAST from pessimism;  FEAST on optimism.

FAST from worry;  FEAST on God’s providence.

FAST from complaining;  FEAST on appreciation.

FAST from bitterness;  FEAST on forgiveness.

FAST from self-concern;  FEAST on compassion for others.

FAST from discouragement;  FEAST on hope.

FAST from facts that depress;  FEAST on truths that uplift.

FAST from apathy;  FEAST on enthusiasm.

FAST from suspicion;  FEAST on truth.

FAST from thoughts that detract; FEAST on promises that inspire.

FAST from idle gossip;  FEAST on purposeful silence.



Sister Jeanne Ann Weber

Sister Jeanne Ann Weber is Director of Liturgy. She has experience as a teacher, advocate for women and children, giving retreats and spiritual direction. She is a member of the Shalom Spiritual Direction Training Program at the Monastery.See all of Sister Jeanne Ann’s posts.


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“And let them first pray together, that so they may associate in peace.”
–St. Benedict of Nursia, The Rule of Saint Benedict