by Sr. Sheila Campbell MMM Ireland 11.02.2024
Today is the Sunday before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. It is also the Feast of our Lady of Lourdes, patroness of the sick, a feast very dear to MMM, but for the moment I will stay in this pre-Lenten time.
In Brazil where I worked for many years, the whole weekend and up to Wednesday is a time of celebration. Of course, nowadays it has become commercialized with large street festivals and competition between the various Carnival groups or blocks, as they are called. There is a lot of loud music and alcohol! But the origin of the festival is much simpler. Lent is coming. Let us remember the joy of life and the good things that God has given us before we turn our attention to Lent. This is the time we will examine the ways in which we have not lived up to that goodness to which we are all called and a time of preparation before the greatest Christian feast of all, Easter.
Thinking about this these Carnival days, I often reflect that I do not pay attention to these small moments of great joy that are sprinkled throughout our lives. I am thinking of things like sharing the joy of a new mother on the birth of her baby, or watching the sunrise or sunset, enjoying the company of my cat when she curls up on my lap. For dog owners it will often be the soulful look which says, “Come outside and play with me!” We all have these moments, so today, in the middle of Carnival weekend I am going to thank God for these simple pleasures and bring them more to the forefront of my imagination, and just not ignore them as dull and routine.