From the Head of School: Our Lenten Journey

A Lenten Journey

Journey is an oft-used metaphor to describe Lent, no doubt because the season spans a total of 46 days and provides ample time for thoughtful spiritual and personal reflection. The dictionary defines journey as both a noun – like a trip – and a verb – an act of traveling. I much prefer the verb. Journey requires movement from one place to another. And that motion itself is filled with possibility. So too, Lent requires motion from one way of acting or thinking to another, better way.

Though often characterized through the lens of sacrifice or fasting (what did you give up for Lent??), Lent is more fully understood through the lens of hope and renewal that culminates with the majesty and grace of Easter. This special season provides all of us – irrespective of our religious tradition – with an opportunity to connect or reconnect with our values, with those special to us, and most importantly, with our God.

Our Lenten journey can be practiced in three distinct phases:

  • Slow. I have an Apple Watch. It occasionally tells me when to breathe, a reminder I most often dismiss without thought. But Lent provides us an opportunity to slow down the frantic pace of our lives – taking a time out of sorts to breathe – to reflect on our relationship with God and the people who surround us. We can disconnect from the noisy distractions that too often dictate the pace of our days and remind ourselves of what we value most.
  • Grow. Renewal and a call to conversion are central to the practice of Lent. We pray, we fast, we actively engage in acts of welcoming and charity to grow and change. I am fond of the phrase, “we never become; we are always becoming.” We spend our entire lives learning and changing. Lent provides us a focused time to do that intentionally, rather than simply floating on the tides and currents of the day. Think of it as an opportunity to get to the acoustic core of our lives and our purpose.
  • Go. As Lent guides us toward Easter, we can turn to the Prologue of the Rule of Benedict for inspiration: It is high time for us to arise from sleep. Let us open our eyes to the light that comes from God, and our ears to the voice from heaven…[R]un while you have the light of life (RB Prologue). We practice Lent inwardly through reflection, prayer, and personal conversion. But we live Lent externally by the ways we engage each other and the world around us. Like a carefully tended flower, we bloom.

Slow, grow, go. In this marvelous season of renewal, I wish our entire Prep community the blessings and hope of the Easter grace that awaits!

Jon McGee
Head of School
Saint John’s Preparatory School