Lent is this time of screams and shouts of pain, begging for God’s mercy, and announcing that all that is wrong in the world is mea culpa mea maxima culpa, our voices getting connected with other voices as we all go to the streets to weep together. We look around and there is devastation everywhere. We are not allowed not to see. The apparent peace of our street corners cannot hide the desperation of houses and families living under minimum wage or unemployed. Our coffee shops cannot cover the fact that so many refugees in Africa are living under excruciating circumstances. Not during Lent! For these 40 days, the morning sun shining in our windows cannot erase the shadow of our misery and how we transpose in a somewhat leisurely way, and in some cases we might even say in a shockingly slow way, our engagement with someone else’s sufferings.
Facebook help us engage with social larger issues around the world but it also give us a very comfortable and safe venue that makes us feel righteous about our fights while never going to the streets to do the actual fight! Facebook social struggle is only good and valid if it makes me stop reading posts to put my face on the ground and pray and cry for that post/picture that is showing indigenous people being evicted from their own lands by agribusiness international companies. Facebook social struggle is only good and valid if turns itself into blood and sweat, into activities that actually change and transform the world. Like the Spring revolution or the occupy movement.
If Lent does not make me go to the streets and weep with those who are suffering, I am not going through lent. For my soul goes where my body takes her to go. If my soul can’t come to live with my body under black plastic tents with landless people, or go stay with people with addiction or poor people on the streets or hang out with non documented immigrants or any other fight I might choose to fight, my kyrie, my let is somewhat emptied into the clouds of my subjectivities. No sacrifice on diet coke, beer or some food during these 40 days will do the job that lent requires if done alone, as a thing in itself, without deeper connections.
Lent is a time to weep. Weep for myself and for the world. Weeping with Jesus, weeping with Buddha in a bent over position, covering his face with his hands. Weeping with Saint Francis, St. Augustine, Miguel de Unamuno, Mother Teresa, or the weeping Maries.
Our weeping is for the sake of the world! Hear Unamuno’s powerful words in Tragic Sense of Life: ”I am convinced that we would solve many things if we all went out into the streets and uncovered our griefs, which perhaps would prove to be but one sole common grief, and joined together in beweeping them and crying aloud to the heavens and calling upon God, And this, evn though God should hear us not; but He would hear us. The chiefest sanctity of a temple is that it is a place to which men go to weep in common. A misere sung in common by a multitude tormented by destiny….”
We are all tormented by this destiny: we are called to weep together, to weep for the world, to weep for ourselves and our families, to weep for the disfranchised, those whose rights were taken so others could have more than enough… Kyrie Eleison!
For our happiness is only happiness if lived with others. Inner joy is only joy if shared with others. Thomas Merton said: “God does not give His joy to us for ourselves alone, and if we could possess Him for ourselves alone we would not possess Him at all. Any joy that does not overflow from our soul and help other men (sic) to rejoice in God does not come to us from God.” My joy is possible if I rejoice in someone else’s joy.
After my body learns that, then I learn that to bend my body, soul, spirit, knees and will to God alone is to bend myself entirely to somebody else, shedding tears that perhaps will wet the ground and make seeds be born so we can all eat together the food of our weeping, bread and water of life, at the ground, with each other. Until we can eat together, all of us, we will continue to weep. Our tears will keep the justice as a thin possibility! And we will call all of the weeping angels, all of the women and women to weep together in the public squares, in all of the sacred spaces and sacred times, in our beds, for the joy, life, the full life of each breathing creature in our world.