February 18: Introspection During Lent: Self-Awareness & Self-Reflection

Thursday after Ash Wednesday

February 18, 2021

These reflections are conceived as a very personal account of steps in my journey of becoming closer to God and his message of love. I hope they will connect with others’ experiences and journeys to spark curiosity and dialogue.

All journeys have a beginning. The beginning of my journey of fully allowing myself to savor God’s love started with the cultivation of reflection and awareness of self and others.

There are two notions in my life experiences that have been key in kindling and processing introspection. One of them has been Proximity. Coming from a middle-class family, privileged with social capital, my understanding of marginalized communities was very little until I became physically proximal to people from these communities. Becoming an anthropology student at the National University of Colombia (serving over 50,000 students mostly from low-income families) provided me with this opportunity. Interpersonal relationships during my training opened my mind to the perspectives and hardships of others in a way that I had never experienced before.

Another key notion has been learning Humility. My experience of becoming an immigrant in the U.S. and having to re-define my social persona as such had a great impact on understanding the importance of humility. I was confronted with understanding humility through the otherization I felt when I was classified as a foreigner, a Latina, and a non-white person. In parallel, I have been challenged with learning humility, realizing that despite feelings of discrimination I could experience, my light skin color and social capital had privileged me in comparison to those without these.

Constantly seeking proximity to fellow humans who are less privileged than me and learning to practice humility in my interactions with others, have been essential to find grace in my journey to God’s love.

Claudia E. Ordóñez, anthropologist and M.A. in Intercultural Relations, has been a parishioner at the Shrine for over ten years. She and her family (Vince, Daniel, and Alessandra) have been active members of the Shrine community through participation in different ministries and activities and can't imagine being happier at any other church community in the world. Claudia is proudly a Colombian immigrant and currently teaches at Emory University and works in biomedical and public health research in the U.S. and South Africa.

These reflections are meant to challenge us in our journey through Lent. Please feel free to share your thoughts and comments with us.

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