My favorite time of the year officially began a few days ago: Lent. Now, I’m not a religious man, nor do I consider myself in any way shape or form a practicing Catholic. However, I do love this time of the year because it’s an opportunity for me to renew and strengthen my resolve against the forces of darkness that permeate our world.
At the start of the month, I was able to assist in an intervention by educating those involved about the risks they would face. In and of itself, it was a pretty routine session, lasted about 2 hours (I can’t share the specifics, but I can say that the Devil’s Tonic, Heroin, was involved). But as I spoke, I felt as if my words weren’t my own, but given to me. Even though I study and write several notes about what I study, I sometimes have a hard time expressing exactly what I need to say about various treatment topics. But I had no problems getting my point across during the intervention with which I assisted. I felt that my physical reality became secondary to the topic and conversation at hand. Afterward, when I reflected on the intervention, I think I know what happened.
During Lent, I do a couple of things differently and on Holy Thursday, I walk to the Santuario de Chimayo. My route is approximately 22 miles and though I do spend the bulk of Lent preparing for my walk, it’s never easy and I usually need a couple of days to fully recover. Some people criticize me for walking, saying that Christ already died for our sins and that there’s no need for a sacrifice. But – and here’s the thing: I DON’T WALK AS A SACRIFICE. I have no need for sacrifice. I walk because during the walk, my body wants desperately to quit, but Angels carry me through and over the most difficult part. Of that I am certain. And when I enter into the old church made of mud, time, space, hate, fear, and all of our reality condenses and all I sense is a deep love and connection for this world that is God’s creation that we sometimes appear to take for granted. The shadows that constantly chase me are gone during those moments when I first kneel inside the Santuario when I thank God for my life and for the gifts of love with which He’s entrusted me. I am reminded, in those moments, that life, ALL LIFE, is a gift that the forces of darkness wish to steal and destroy.
So, when I was engaged in the intervention, my Angels came to me and guided my words. I realized that the person with whom I spoke was engaged in a deep battle with Evil’s legions and God’s army spoke to those forces, reminding them of their cowardly powerlessness. Of that, I am also certain.
So, as I travel through my favorite time of the year, I will prepare for my walk and attempt to become a better steward of God’s creation. I fall short and want to leave this place better than I found it and I have a long way to go.