Order of Friars Minor Franciscans of Canada

Lent: The Season of Love – Called to Relationship

Lent: The Season of Love – Called to Relationship



This past week I called my Mom and when she answered I asked her what she was doing, her response was, “I just finished hugging your brother, I had a dream he died, so I just wanted to give him a hug when I saw him.”

I laughed, she laughed and then I got the details of the dream. I always find it interesting how dreams, or common moments in our living trigger for us much deeper thoughts and actions. I’ve been pondering my Mom’s story over the past few days. In this pondering a key word has surfaced… relationship.

If I was to summarize my nearly three years of theological studies I would have use the word relationship. Not just the relationships that have formed with classmates and professors, but really the whole core of theological studies is about relationship. From the Trinitarian love-fest of our three in one God, to God’s deep love for all of creation and all of humanity, to Jesus’ relationship in becoming one of us, to the pattern of relationship that Jesus has shown to us, to the relationship of faith and reason – nature and belief, to the relationship of the church and the world, to our relationship with Christ… theology and our journey of faith is truly about relationship.

Now this pondering on relationship is not a news flash or a new concept, it is simply a deeply rooted reality, and dare I say truth, which speaks to each of us no matter where we are in the journey. As we continue on in this Lenten Season of Love, the thought and reality of relationships should continue to surface and call us to evaluate our interactions with others, our investments in relationships and the work, efforts and growth that are relationships.

From my Mom’s dream and her hugging my brother, to a conversation with a Franciscan brother, to a coffee with a good friend, to listening to a classmate, to a phone call with a niece of mine, to quiet moments of prayer, to listening to scripture proclaimed the value of relationship has drawn me a bit deeper into this Season of Love. It has made me ponder the relationships I enter into and how much of myself I give. I have contemplated the challenges of relationships in my own life and that of the church and nations. I have considered the struggle we have with being open enough and trusting enough to be brother and sister with each other. I have wondered about how well I am doing at expressing the importance of the relationships that shape my life and what I need to do to heal some relationships, let go of ones that are illusions and share appreciation for those relationships that nurture and sustain me. The list of people could be endless, however Lent is a good time for some concrete actions and calls me and each of us to be aware of our relationship with others and our relationship with Christ. This Season of Love is an opportunity to reflect on our relationships and to bring them to the cross and place them in the heart of love that is our God.

So, to my brother who is very much alive and got a hug from mom this week, I don’t know if you know how much I appreciate you. Your relaxed, easy-going approach which counters my planned, under-control approach is a balance I seek. Your ability to make people laugh, even sometimes groan is a gift that breaks tensions and stirs up some needed excitement in our days. Your tenderheartedness outweighs your sometimes tough exterior. Your ability to adapt, to risk, to dream, to seek new opportunities reminds me that I too must do the same in my journey, in my relationships and in my walk of faith. So, my brother, I’m glad that it was just a crazy dream of Mom’s and that you are very much alive and thankful for the lessons you have taught me about relationships and I’m blessed to call you brother.

May this Lenten week ahead allow for each of us to spend some moments pondering and reflecting on our relationships from family to friends to colleagues to neighbours, to those in need, to our most precious relationship of the one we have with Christ. I know I have my work cut out for me… this Season of Love really is having an impact on my heart.