Quarantine = 40 Days = Lent
We hear so much talk of "isolation" and "quarantine" in the news during these days of the Coronavirus. Quarantine literally means "40 Days." In most languages it is more or less the same root word that is used for this 40 day season we call Lent in English. (For example, in Latin, Lent is call Quadragesima, In Italian it's called Quaresima, and in Spanish it's Cuaresma.).
Let's not miss the grace-filled coincidence that we're experiencing such things as social distancing, isolation and quarantine during Lent this year, especially as we recall our 2020 Vision of "Forming Intentional Disciples."
What does a medical quarantine have in common with Lent? Well, it seems the term was originally used in Venice during the plague. It was a 40 day isolation required of all voyagers on ships before they were considered safe to enter the city. And the concept of medical "isolation" seems to come from the fact that those with illness were often held on an island, which is called an "isola" in Italian.
For a much longer time the forty days of Lent had similar methods and purpose on a spiritual level – recalling God's great work in the 40 days of Noah on the Ark and Jesus conquering temptation in the desert. Lent has always been an intense 40 day time of being set apart for purification, first and foremost for the those adults being formed as disciples in the final preparation for entrance into the Church at Easter, to be washed clean of sin by Baptism so that they might share safely with us in the most intimate act of Communion. In a similar way, Lent is an annual opportunity for the rest of us to get cleaned up again and again and again, to put renewed intention into our own discipleship and that potential we each have for a personal relationship with Jesus which we ourselves received in Baptism.
None of this is meant to be easy - preparation for Baptism, Intentional Discipleship or a pandemic. There will be unavoidable inconvenience, hardships or physical discomfort in all of them, but when we participate in it all with intention, Intentional Discipleship that is, it all ceases to be merely inconvenient, hard, or uncomfortable. It can all be life giving and life changing in ways we never imagined.
A truly blessed and life giving 40 days to you all.
Oprime aquí para la carta en español.