Living Lent in L’Arche!

Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the Beloved.

Henri Nouwen.

Lent is traditionally a time where we ‘give up something’ we enjoy.

Most of us remember giving up sweets and chocolates as children- Over the last few years it has become more popular to take up an activity that will enhance your life, instead of taking something away. This year I see more and more on social media that Lent is been associated with a time of restrictions especially of food and drink.


However I feel that when you are part of an intentional community such as L’Arche, then Lent isn’t just a season on the Liturgical calendar, rather it is a way of being.

The event that leads Jesus into the desert for 40 days and 40 nights, is his Baptism in the Jordan, where he hears the words- ‘You are my beloved child, in you I am well pleased.’

This moment confers and confirms a dignity and a call into the heart of Jesus- a moment where he remembers and recognises that He is the son of God.

And so he follows that call into the desert, where he encounters many voices and forces that tempt him away from who he really is. He is tempted by great fortune, great accomplishment, great power-in the eyes of the world he can be a great man. All he must do is forget the truth of who he really is.

And who he really is, is a person who has learned to give home to all the forces in the world. He has created an inner eco system where fear and faith find their place, control and surrender find friendship, love and hatred co-exist, self and other are in harmony, divinity and humanity kiss, life and death are but the same, God and man are one.

And this inner harmony that Jesus achieves in his soul is what allows him the courage to walk the road that lies before him in life, in death and beyond.


One of the tasks and purposes of living in an intentional community is to get to know that many voices within and without- these voices are different for each of us. And so this Lent let us not get distracted by the voices and the forces that call us to false power, to the illusion of perfectionism, to a sense of control and safety that is incoherent with this world. Rather let us create the space to hear the softest of voices call us the most beloved- reminding us that we too are called to hold the paradox of broken wholeness.