Monday, February 27

Reflections on the idea of Lent

As we more fully consider the Lenten season, it comes to me that an examination of what Lent is and its meaning to us may be in order.

Traditionally in the catholic churches, Lent is a time for penitential preparation for Easter.  This is a time of fasting and prayer, of sacrifice and of repentance.  More recently, the idea of alms-giving was added to the penitential rites of Lent.

But I would recall that the very word 'Lent' comes from the old high German and means spring-time...literally, the days 'lengten'.  As someone who rises early enough, I can attest that the days ARE lengthening, the darkness of Winter is being driven back and the renewal of the Earth is near.

As the wheel of the year turns to spring, my mind turns to internal renewal and new growth.  It is a time to refresh our commitments, to overhaul our methodologies and to begin again the Good Work.  Yes, one should focus our minds on prayer and on the spiritual, but do so with glad hearts, not long faces.  God is with us and in us and the long nights of winter are coming to an end.  The days lengthen as Lenten days are here and hints of spring are showing even today.  The seeds in our hearts have overwintered and are ready to sprout.  Weed the garden, tend the field and look with joy to the days to come.

Thanks be to God.

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