Adult Faith Formation coordinator and Dominican Sister Margaret Scharf OP has this week emphasised the fact that doing less in our spiritual journey is sometimes better than doing more.
Sr Margaret was speaking about the liturgical season of Lent and her course – Lenten Leisure: A Sabbath Approach to Lent – which is commencing at Highgate Parish from Tuesday 12 March.
The course will continue for the subsequent four Tuesdays until 2 April.
“When Lent comes around people tend to be focussed on ‘what am I going to be doing during Lent’, so ‘what am I going to be taking on: I’m going to be giving up this, I’m going to be doing this and I’m doing that.” Sr Margaret said.
“And you know there’s a list of things which may or may not happen throughout the six weeks of Lent because there’s just so much that it becomes overwhelming.”
Sr Margaret is the youngest member of the Dominican Sisters of WA and is also currently the director of the Dominican Institute for Spirituality.
She is a retreat guide, Spiritual director, and presenter of adult faith formation programmes to parish groups and school staff.
“Much of the time we just aren’t present in the moment.” Sr Margaret explained.
“I think that the desire would be that the journey we take through Lent would be a transformative journey, to transform ourselves to be more like Jesus, to becoming more like Christ in the world where we are.”
“So every day when I’m making my choices around that, in a way I am transforming myself into the heart and mind of Christ, I see things differently, I don’t see things necessarily the same way at the end of that journey in the way that I did at the start, I see things with the eyes of Christ.”
Sr Margaret went on to explain that central to the message is that rather than taking on more things to do as a practical application of faith, Christians should also reflect on the quality of what they are already doing and how this reflects Christ’s life in the manner of the Sabbath.
The four characteristics of Sabbath, a theology that is part of the roots of our tradition, are:
- Rejoicing – true joy and gratitude that comes from all that God has done for us.
- Covenant – the unique covenant that God made with his people and the peace that this relationship brings.
- Worship – being more intentional about praising God in our thoughts, words and actions, really participating in God’s work and praise.
- And finally for Catholics, the fourth characteristic is Jesus: I am baptised into the body of Christ, I’m called to share his message with others.
“We have built into our liturgical year in the Church these 40 days to be really intentional about this journey.” Sr Margaret said.
“The drama of what’s happening in Lent in terms of our liturgy and our worship, what’s happening draws you into that the more you become involved and this journey that we take with Jesus becomes really serious.
“And so our ability to be able to ponder that journey in a different way is I think part of the invitation to take time for Lent.
“That’s the essence of the message: doing less is sometimes better than taking on more in order to focus on the quality of my spiritual walk. How can I deepen my friendship and relationship with God, with Father, Son and Spirit? Am I living the Gospel way?”
For more info, or to register, go to https://cfe.org.au/courses-and-events/lenten-leisurea-sabbath-approach-to-lent/