Sunday in the Fifth Week of Lent
I found a word that I have been looking for a while. It is
sibilant — A noise made but cannot be shouted. How did I
come by this word? Yesterday, we spent the morning with my grandchildren, Mary
and Allen. We attended the Strawberry Festival in Ponchatoula, La.
Occasionally, out of the mouth of the angelic looking two year old boy a primal scream would emit. I am talking
about a yell that would rival Pavarotti or Renee Fleming in its purity, and
exceed the Basque rebels in volume when Allen chooses to practice his vocal
abilities inside the confines of an automobile. He doesn’t really want or need
anything he is simply enjoying the fact that he can gain attention from his
During Lent we work on our voices and sounds as well. The
silent voice used in prayer or the murmuring of our sacred word in contemplative
prayer damage no ear drums. The rumbling of our stomach during periods of
fasting, hardly wakes the church mouse. We enter church and process in silence.
Quiet introspection and reading spiritual works fail to trigger any noise
alarms. We reserve Allen type vocals for Palm Sunday and the Hallelujah Chorus
for Easter morning. On those days we welcome Allen’s vocals.
So Lent is essentially a time we focus on those aspects of our
life that cannot be shouted out. It is a time for humility.