Peggy Ryan is a Dominican Sister of Sinsinawa who directs the Holy Family Food Pantry, which is part of Most Blessed Trinity Parish in Waukegan, llinois. She recently completed her Doctor of Ministry degree from Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida. As part of her parish ministry, Peggy and the other Dominican Sisters with whom she lives, offer weekend retreats of service and theological reflection.
The symbol of the labyrinth was adopted by the church as a way to unite us with the Holy One. Isn't that what we really want to have happen during Lent – for our souls and our feet to unite?
The call to accompaniment continually requires significant inner work. Letting go of ego, opening ourselves up to the other, and most importantly, doing the spiritual work that offers us the great gift of staying grounded in God's love, mercy, and joy demands a discipline and a commitment to prayer and truthfulness.
The food pantry where I serve is a former Catholic church. Some years ago, volunteers came in, removed the pews and replaced them with shelves that hold the groceries we give away. The heavenly food of the Eucharist, once received here, has been exchanged for an earthly fare: rice, beans, fresh veggies and fruit, milk, meat, and other good stuff. Now, many — often broken and desperate — who reflect Christ's body, form community as they wait in the exact place formerly reserved for the blessed sacrament.
Admit it! We have all done it, haven't we? Stuffed our old clothes in a bag, or maybe, first washed and folded them neatly, and then given them away. Sometimes, the clothes just do not fit anymore. Or, we need more room in our drawers for newer clothes and are just too tired of folding that sweater we have not worn in forever. At other times, we call it cleaning out our closets. I have heard of some who give away an old item every time they buy something new.