Lent in Brazil - Campanha da Fraternindade 2009, Non Violence

By 21:10

The Lenten Season is upon us.  I've always wanted to say that, haha.  (Sidenote: For those who don't know, I associate my religious beliefs with the Roman Catholic Church.  I have a theory also that all religions are essentially the same, but I also chose to pick one of the established ones, and this has been my decision, and I hope those of you reading this can respect that.)  

This means yesterday, Ash Wednesday, to me and many other Christians around the world, was the beginning of 40 days of sacrifice, prayer, and preparation for Easter, one of the most important holy days in the Catholic Church.  After a certain age, one considers it more important than Christmas!  

I admit that I have been lacking in my faith recently, which isn't hard to do right now since close to none of the people who surround me here are religious, and prior to coming to São Paulo, I constantly had that family/friends spiritual network.  But yesterday, after having a quarter pounder cheeseburger for lunch (by accident!), I brought myself to mass to get ashes sprinkled on my foreheard... err, I mean, pray.  I went to a church near my house I'd been planning on attending since I discovered it a few weeks ago, and it turned out to be a wonderful idea. 

The Catholic Church in Brazil every year picks a theme for lent called a "Campanha da Fraternidade," or Fraternity Campaign.  This year's theme is non-violence.  All kinds of it.  We, all over the world, live in a violent society.  Some experience violence because of religion, others for money, or sports, or simply survival.  Along with the theme, the Church asks us to reflect on means of ending violence in our lives starting with ourselves, and doing what we can within our reach to slowly, but surely end the violence that surrounds us.  

I think the violence within ourselves point is quite valid, and the priest last night preached this idea by quoting Gandhi loosely, referring to when he said, 

And this is true, no? No matter what we do to "end" violence, if we have any sort of inner violence, what's the point?  Which brings me to my next thought.  I feel lent is a lot about combatting hypocracy as well.  Our own.  We're all hypocrites, and there's no point in pretending to be something you're not.  Which is why I myself take Lent very seriously because to me it's a time to reflect on my own beliefs and how I want to lead my life and distance myself from hipocracy of spirit.  And this is also why I think last night's liturgy was perfect for my own thoughts on the next 40 days which will hopefully extend for much longer, and that is Matthew, Ch. 6, 1-21.  Here's a tiny part of the reading:

5“And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 6But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 16“And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 17But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.21...where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."  

So if you'll please allow me to, I will try, once a week for this Lenten season, to reflect on this year's theme, Non-Violence, through this blog.  How does that sound?  

Now go, for those who believe (and even those who don't!) and have a Happy Lent!! 

You Might Also Like