If you’re online, into social media and Orthodox you might already have heard about the sudden loss of Fr Matthew Baker from Norwich, CT. I did not know Fr Matthew but a number of my online acquaintances did know and love him. I am struck by the terrible loss his passing brings in the lives of his friends and his beautiful family. I cannot even imagine the space he leaves and how his wife and six children (who are still young) will cope.
It brings to my mind an aspect of Lent that I often overlook, that of charity. I’m willing to whine about the fasting and grouse about the prayer but I do them anyway. Charity escapes me far too often. It’s convenient to be forgetful about this particular bit of the Lenten practice. What’s striking about this aspect though is how it focuses outward rather than inward. I’m down with the sacrificial and cleansing parts of Lent, the parts that have to do with getting “me” all squared away, but this charity part is another thing altogether.
The root of the word charity is interesting. It comes from the Latin, “carus” meaning “dear” and not surprisingly serves as the root for another word, “care.” While all the aspects of Lent are for the benefit of soul and spirit, this aspect, this “care” means that I am required to look beyond my own boundaries. If you, like me, are looking for a way to show some carus this Lenten season, here’s one way you can do that.
Watching the outpouring of donations and support for Fr Matthew’s family is incredible. It gives me a lot of hope for the crazy bunch of humans on this planet. What a tremendous show of care. I hope that you’ll take a moment to consider adding your care as well. If not, at least sit up and take notice of those around you who are in need of care. There’s no shortage of need in this world, that’s for sure.