Being a Midwesterner by upbringing, I’m amazed to see that there are signs of Spring already on our grounds here at Holy Redeemer. My mother would always watch for her crocuses to emerge after the long, cold months of winter. One year my brother-in-law, who ran a floral shop, put fake silk ones in the backyard, knowing that she would be watching for them. When she told her friends at work that they had appeared, they asked for evidence in the form of pictures and picking one to bring in the next day. The picture was duly taken but the picked crocus was found to be a fake silk flower! I just sent her a picture of the crocuses in front of the rectory explaining that they are the real thing.
Spring always brings a sense of thrill to one’s spirit. Nature turns a corner and we suddenly realize that winter is behind us. What seems dry and lifeless suddenly comes back to life. Sprouting Crocuses, Daffodils and the rich fragrance of Daphne in bloom, speak of the beauty and sweetness of creation. For good reason Christ told us to gaze on the lilies of the field to understand the mystery of our lives.
Sometimes it seems that humanity is stuck in a ‘winter mindset.’ The news stories we hear about are fixated on corruption, scandal, war, and the latest disaster. We read that increasingly our young people are beset by anxiety, depression or loneliness. And we ourselves are confronted by the same old problems and wonder when we will ever find that elusive sense of peace. We can lose sight of God in our world that can seem so cold and lifeless at times.
Lent asks us to dwell for a time on what is dry and lifeless within us. Lent reminds us that we always stand in need of conversion. As the Constitutions of Holy Cross put it, “We wished to abandon all to follow Christ. We learned in time that we had it within ourselves to hold back. We wish to be wholehearted, yet we are hesitant. Still, like the first disciples we know that he will draw us along and reinforce our loyalties if we yield to him.”
What Christ wants for us is our own resurrection, our own flowering into inner freedom, peace and joy. If we can really contemplate a flower in bloom, we might catch something of our inner dignity and beauty, and then catch sight of it in others. Then it will be Spring forever.
Yours in Christ,