by Anna Dourgarian on April 11, 2020
Here the Beaver’s voice sank into silence and it gave one or two very mysterious nods. Then signaling to the children to stand as close around it as they possibly could, so that their faces were actually tickled by its whiskers, it added in a low whisper —
“They say Aslan is on the move—perhaps has already landed.”
— C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Today is a sad Easter Eve. With the pandemic, Lent has been especially somber. While we should hope and pray for an extra Easter miracle, we cannot depend on it. God may ask us to continue our Lenten fasting and sacrifice throughout the Easter season.
This year, the Sisters planned to climb mountains with our Lenten Sunday readings, from Jesus’ temptation on a mountain to His crucifixion on the Mount of Golgotha. They planned to climb with intentional prayers, minimal decorations, and gifts to their neighbors of meat foregone from their own table.
But God had something else planned. He shut down the state. He doubled the size of the mountain. When COVID-19 hit, Lent became a time of strict discipline and constraint. The Sisters canceled visits with friends and mourned the world’s suffering from sickness, lost finances, and isolation.
In the confusion and the sorrow, I am reminded of Narnia in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, where it was “always winter and never Christmas” (20). It seems like it is always Lent and never Easter.
But Lent had another, hidden side. Beyond the mountains, Sunday readings also foretold the Lord’s promises, in the cure of the blind man and the raising of Lazarus. For the Sisters, they found inspiration and aid from the glory of the Saints. They also got to companion the children and adults scheduled to receive Rites of Initiation tonight at Easter Vigil Mass, and they continue to pray even as the Rites are postponed.
While they miss the people coming in and out of their home, the Sisters find beauty in the quiet. Time for paying attention to the birds in the garden and the green grass is a balm to their sadness. Out of the tragedy, they see goodness and God’s guiding hand. As Sister Mary Paula pointed out, “This is my ninetieth Lent, and originally it was hard to see something new in it. But this year has been different.”
Friends, despite the hard times, stay alert, and stay joyful. Jesus is on the move.