Not an “Old School” Lent

Though it has been far too long since I last wrote here, I couldn’t let Ash Wednesday come and go without having a word. Though I had no idea what I wanted to say, I woke this morning with a gravitational pull on my heart to be present here as this holy season begins.

Dozens of my Lents have been spent focused on self-denial and self-discipline, convinced that it was the appropriate time to overhaul who I was and all that was “wrong” with me. Sometimes the results “worked,” getting me a little healthier and humbler, but they rarely made me any holier. And this year, I don’t have it in me to work on my “self,” – not my self-image, my self-indulgences, or even the self-criticism that is my daily companion.

Tim and I have been talking for days about what practices we might adopt during these forty days, but nothing had resonated deeply yet. However, after my sit this morning, I walked over to our family message board, wrote this and sent a picture of it to my kids.



And followed it up with this text.

It’s Ash Wednesday Team Kirks.  Just a gentle reminder from your mama that we don’t do “old school” Lent. This year, I want to do these things – not sacrificing in ways that don’t bring help and healing to the world in some small way. If Easter is the universal message that out of death comes new life, out of despair hope, out of darkness light, then these last weeks of winter can prepare us to be open to that new life, light and hope. Be brave and be kind today and know deep in your bones that the depth and passion with which I love you is just a fraction of the cosmic Love that Loves us all and has given us this life and chance to be together on the journey.

Fasting, prayer and almsgiving?

Okay, if you insist… but only if they make me more like the Christ who comes, not just on Easter, but each and every day. Giving up Diet Coke hasn’t done the trick and neither has sacrificing that second glass of wine. But some of those reminders on my message board just might  – in my own home, at work, or on the street.


I hope to share a few of the things I’m reading and practices I’m engaging with over the course of the next six weeks. Thanks for welcoming me back into your inbox!





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  1. Perfect! Glad you found some time to inspire with your blog today. At church on Sunday, Fr. Ramon emphasized the positive actions that we should take on daily during this Lent. So the same message was shared and maybe more Catholics will take on more positive actions to do a little to change the world and in doing so change themselves. Love, mama


  2. I am so glad you’re back sharing your insightful and motivational thoughts! I learn so much from your reflections and feel so grateful whenever I get to spend time with you.


  3. Like a breath of fresh air – *you! – just blowing in to (en)lighten the spirits and remind us of… well, everything that is possible today. ❤ LAP


  4. No matter what religion we practice [or don’t], your words bring a pause, a reminder to breathe and a deep ‘aha moment” as to what the essence of daily life should encompass. Thank you.


  5. I LOVE this! I had my kids in Catholic school
    Until 3 weeks ago when we decided to do the homeschooling route. A combination of on-line and hands on learning for the modern student. This is AMAZING Catholic HomeSchool Curriculum!!! Say “no” to “Old School” Catholic Lent😀 Thank you for inspiring me to inspire my children to celebrate lent “new school” style!!! Mark 12:30-31


  6. Thanks, Alison, for sharing your practical insights. It was so good to see you and beautiful Molly last night and I am happy to hear from you again online. Please keep sharing, even briefly, as you are inspired to do so. Peace and Lenten love, Bev


  7. I love and need this my friend…..I fell Saturday and my right side is immobilized and i am forced to be still and go within! Scary place for me to be personally! So thankful for the written word and the love, care and compassion that it brings!


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