Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a time to do penance, reflect, and fast which prepares us for the Resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption.
“Remember You are Dust and to Dust You Shall Return …
Lent – the Spring Cleaning of the Soul
As the days get longer, and the sun gets brighter, something in us awakens. We look around at the dust that has settled over winter and pull out the rags and mop. We start a work bee, washing in corners that get overlooked and taking out the ladder to clean up the dust that is out of reach. There is such a feeling of satisfaction looking around a freshly spring-cleaned house. We’re ready to feast and celebrate after the hard work.
Likewise, the Church in this season, calls us to a spring cleaning of the soul. This cleaning bee is led by the Holy Spirit and aims at cleaning up our soul to make more room for Christ.
As we discern how the Lord is calling us to live this Lent, let us consider the three traditional Lenten “cleaning agents” of which Jesus speaks in the Gospel of Matthew that we hear on Ash Wednesday.
- Prayer: How is the Lord calling me to deepen my relationship with Him through prayer? Is it adding a new prayer time? Or bringing more care and attention to my prayer time in order that it be a more fruitful encounter? Is the Lord calling me to more communal prayer or personal prayer? Who or what can help me make this change?
- Fasting: What good thing is the Lord asking me to let go of for this time, to make more room for Him? Is it food – which I might depend on him more as the ultimate source of my energy and beatitude? Is it social media – which I might be less distracted and be aware of his presence in the moment and in those around me?
- Almsgiving (or sharing): How is the Lord calling me to share my time, talent, and treasure with others this Lent? How can this practice connect me with Christ in His poor?
As we reflect on these questions, we may feel a bit overwhelmed. But be not afraid. Find others who can work alongside you in your “work bee” of the soul and lean on the Holy Spirit. Let us acknowledge our innate poverty and let us believe like St. Paul that when we are weak, we are strong in the Spirit.
After 40 days of spring cleaning of the soul, we will be ready to celebrate the great Feast of Easter! Renewed by the Holy Spirit, we will be able to live more fully as children of the Resurrection, witnessing to the transformative power of Christ’s sacrificial love for all!
A good prayer during lent is to read the Psalms from the bible, in Psalm 70 it says:
On you, oh Lord I find my refuge
you deliver me in your righteousness
you are my rock and my fortress
Lord you are my hope and my confidence.
So I will stand and lift your name
so I will stand and lift your Holy name.
There’s not a day that I don’t need you.
There is not a prayer
oh that you don’t hear, you are the light
that breaks through the darkness
with you by my side, there’s no need to fear.
So I will stand and lift your name. So I will stand and lift your holy name.