Turn, Turn, Turn

by Jen Owens

This Lent, the parish that I attend has been focusing its attention not only on conversion, but also on the Resurrection, the event for which we make ourselves ready during this liturgical season, the point of all this turning away from sin. Over the past several weeks, our pastor has offered rousing homilies that challenge us to dig deep, to think honestly and pray openly about how we are becoming the kind of Christians we’d like to be. And through it all, he reminds us that Jesus is our companion, not awaiting us at the other side of our turning, but walking with us as we live lives of ongoing conversion and faith.

This past week, Kate and I were fortunate enough to be invited to travel to Boston to speak about From the Pews in the Back with a handful of different audiences in the area. Throughout the trip, I reflected on how blessed and lucky we are to have this opportunity, what a gift with which we have been entrusted with the essays the women wrote, and what a responsibility we have to share them in such a way that the women themselves are represented clearly and fairly. And as I write this post on the plane from Logan to Long Beach, I am aware that the Lenten message that Fr. Mark has been sharing with us over the past several weeks applies here.

I am reminded that I cannot do this work without cultivating a faith that feeds me, without developing a relationship with Jesus that challenges me to continue turn toward a new self who can live in the kind of love to which he invites us anew each day. The institutional church can function as it chooses to, but that does not need to interfere with the vocation to which I have been called. To be a starter of conversation about what it means to be Catholic. To build community among those who feel the Church has marginalized their perspectives. To love in a way that builds up, as St. Paul reminds us to do.

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