Lent as a Thin Place: Embracing Our Brokenness

Braving the Thin Places Lenten Read-Along - text and image of Julianne Stanz and her book

One of my favorite musical performers was the late Leonard Cohen, and one of my favorite songs by him is “Anthem.” In the refrain of this wonderful song, Cohen shares this profound truth:

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in

Indeed, it is through the “cracks”—our brokenness—that the light gets in. It is this same truth that Julianne Stanz explores in her book, Braving the Thin Places: Celtic Wisdom to Create a Space for Graceas she invites us to explore our own experiences of brokenness as “thin places”—moments when God’s grace is accessible to us. Stanz insists, “We are all broken in some way. But those of us who embrace our brokenness will be transformed.” It is this transformation that the season of Lent seeks to facilitate.

Lent is indeed a thin space for us as we clear out the clutter of our lives and rearrange our priorities to ensure that our relationship with God is first and foremost. As we rid ourselves of distractions in our lives, we often come face-to-face with the cracks in our veneer. Many of the distractions in our lives appeared as attempts to cover up these very cracks where the light—the grace of God—can filter in.

During this season of Lent, may we take the time to pay closer attention to our own brokenness: those places in our lives where we truly need reconciliation or the putting-back-together of our relationship with others and with God.

We cannot be available to God and others if we sit inert, mourning our failures and cracks. The essence of resilience and beauty is found in all our experiences, not just the good ones, the perfect ones, the untainted ones. But especially in the experiences where we have been broken open and the golden light of love knits us back together, imperfectly perfect just as God designed us to be. (Julianne Stanz, Braving the Thin Places)


Join a Lenten read-along of Braving the Thin Places! Learn more here.

About Joe Paprocki 2705 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at www.catechistsjourney.com.

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