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Christopher Hale is executive director of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and a contributor to Time.com, The Huffington Post, and Fox News.
Here is his essay, “I Want to Give Up Sexism for Lent”:
Since the President’s election last November, I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on the harsh realities of sexism that plague both our nation and the Christian community and my participation in it in the ways I’ve acted in my personal and professional life.
I think shame is a necessary part of the faith journey. Shame isn’t a matter of discrediting one’s self-worth, but of penetrating, to its fullest depth, our heart and to take charge of the mystery of suffering and pain that has tied humanity down since the dawn of creation and each of us since the moment of our conception.
On the precipice of Lent, the challenging words of the prophet Joel ring loudly in my ears: “rend your hearts, not your garments!”
This Lent, I want to have an effective gesture that will in some way alleviate the pain of so many of those who suffer around me—oftentimes as the result of my own failings.
St. John Chrystodom is right: “No act of virtue can be large if it does not also benefit another. Therefore, no matter how you spend the day fasting, no matter how you may sleep on a hard floor, and how you may eat ashes and sigh continuously, if do not do good to others, you do not accomplish anything great.”
Here’s a specific way I want to do better this Lent and confront the great sin of sexism that too often dominates my life.
I want to use the privileges life has afforded me to amplify work of young women of faith in public life.
Too often men with good intentions—myself included—crowd out the great work of women who promote the greatest demands of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the public sphere.
Pride, vanity, selfishness—the litany of reasons why this happens is endless.
I’ve been a big part of the problem, but I too want to be a part of the solution.
I admittedly don’t know yet how this plays out specifically in the context of my own life, this organization, and the broader community, but I’m open to ideas.
If you’re able and willing, I hope you’ll offer me tangible ideas on how to move forward on this Lenten project.
I’m excited to begin this Lenten journey with you, a path that will include suffering and the cross, a path that will challenge me to change and transform, and a path that will be narrow, but never fruitless.