We are back from Abidjan, in Côte d’Ivoire, where we visited our daughter, Anne Amanda. She is working there at the moment. The day of our arrival, we were having lunch at the Pâtisserie Abidjanaise when I saw three men crossing the busy street and heading towards mats on the sidewalk. There, their faces turned toward Mecca, they started praying Allah.  I became oblivious of the unfamiliar sights, the people, the cars honking. I felt swept up by the sacredness of their time spent with Godde.

Some days later, as we were walking the streets of Man, I heard (was it the first time ever?) the call of the muezzin at lunchtime. This human voice floated up into the sky with loving words toward the One who creates all. I wondered whether a woman’s voice would ever also be heard one day. From then on, each time I heard the call, wherever I happened to be, my heart leaped with joy, following the song toward the heavens.

Any time spent with Godde becomes sacred. Just as silence can be seen a sacrament, and the Eucharist of course, any time lived in the presence of Godde becomes a sacrament as well.

In a way, Lent is about making daily life a sacred time, a moment of utter closeness with the One who loves us.

This Lent, I hope to give up a few things — judging, mainly, and fear. My heart also longs to spend more time with Godde in prayer, in silence, in communion with others, with Nature, and facing the awful news that come to me through the media. Fighting my own indifference and squeamishness, I will look at them in Godde’s presence.

Each minute of every day is laden with Godde’s presence, love, and gifts. Lent is a time given to slow down, stop even, lift up my hands in praise, and thank Godde for all that makes my life. I am so glad Lent is here.

May you have a blessed Lenten journey.

Photo: A Bangladeshi Hindu devotee folds her hands in prayer at a temple in Narayanganj, near Dhaka, Bangladesh. artofprayer.tumblr.com. Source: the Wall Street Journal