This Pope…am I right…?!

This Pope really makes me smile. He says things that I have not heard much from the Vatican in a while. He seems happy. He seems to love serving the ‘least of these’ which is pretty much what christian leaders should be about…if you look at how many times Jesus talks about serving the poor and loving our neighbor and clothing the naked and all that. He seems to do what he says he is going to do and seems to lead by example…He came out with another great statement when he was talking about Lent.

images Look at that Laugh! Don’t you just love this guy!!

He says,”Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades.” That is some good stuff! If you want to read more about it, here you go.

I don’t know about y’all, but Lent was a big part of my childhood. There was lots of chat about what you were going to give up and if you believed that you could gorge on whatever that thing was on Sundays, or not, because that day really did not count as a part of Lent. My Grandma always gave up pie but she had a piece every Sunday. That struck me as sort of funny because who really has pie more than once a week anyway…if that often…But she was doing the catholic-lent-thing. I usually gave up gum. I really loved gum. I still do. Gum is great. I can’t remember if I had it on Sunday’s or not.

Or, there is the pie-gum which Gram and I could have given up together…Gross!

We were also not supposed to have meat on Fridays of Lent. Since I grew up in New Orleans, that was really never any sort of sacrifice. When I moved to the North, I remember noticing that it was a little bit harder to keep that traditional fast. Still, our doing a shrimp boil for dinner on a Friday or going to a church fish-fry was not even close to any sort of painful exercise. It was just an excuse to do something special on Fridays.

My head was pretty filled up by the to-do’s and not-to-do’s during the lenten season. My calendar was filled with soup-supper nights and station’s of the cross services and holy-week was booked with church-dates. Come to think of it… there was not much space for thoughts about doing good deeds, helping the poor, considering the interests of others. When you have a checklist of things you are supposed to do and all the people around you are also keeping that same checklist….not just any-old people but important people like your teachers and your priest and your relatives and your neighbors….you start to think that the list is the most important thing. You start to believe that you are doing something really important and virtuous by not chewing that gum or not eating that pie six days per week. You start to feel pretty good about yourself as you notice that you make every single event and service that the church puts out there for the season of lent. As you get older, you pat yourself on the back for teaching your kids to do the same things and having them all lined up doing all the right things where all the people can see and can know that you are a pretty great mom because you made all of this a priority.  Whew!

Yep…always important to let folks know that you are really suffering…

Well, maybe none of that happened to you. It did happen to me. I got stuck on that list.

I know that I spend WAY more time on my lists than I should. I still have them..they just look a little different than they used to. I needed to be reminded of this trap that I get caught in. I needed to do a little self-check to audit my own choices a bit. I wish that there was a great tool for budgeting time like there is for money.

If this is how we are supposed to think about our money:


…then how are we supposed to think about our time and the space that we make in our days as well as in our minds? I ran across what Angela spends her time on:



I took a stab at making one for myself (Angela’s is obviously much cuter):


Ok…I am going to ask myself this question every day, or I am going to try to: 

How was my interior life caught up in my own interests and my own concerns today? Did I leave any room for others’ interests and concerns? Do I still hear God’s voice and feel his love? Does the quiet joy that brings leave me with a desire to do good?

It is such a good question. I keep noticing how much time I spend on things that I really have no power to change, or don’t really reflect my values and know that I could be learning about ways that I can make a difference for good and shaping my choices more diligently to reflect the things that I care about.