7.3.14

Happy "Coincidences"


One of the things that I like about Lent is that it is not only a spiritually infused season, but also an opportune time for secular concerns, like house cleaning of the deep and thorough kind.

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Surely the explanation is partly scientific and cultural. Lent approximately coincides with the beginning of spring in temperate countries, at least in the northern hemisphere. The word "lent" actually came from a word that means "spring". Abodes, having been closed to shut out the cold and keep in the little warmth, are opened, aired out, and cleaned.

In  the Philippines, Lent approximately coincides with the end of the school year and the start of the dry season. After final exams, families head off to the nearest beach or pool, almost as if to wash away all tensions and yes, to freshen up for the next school year. Because the dry season lends itself well to construction work, house repairs are also attended to. Needless to say, we take typhoons seriously.

Isn't it just so fitting that we repair our houses, scrub them inside out, and trade old air for new right during the Lenten season?

Happy coincidences indeed. Or maybe not.

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Just as God created everything and placed them where they should be, surely He also placed order in the times and seasons, in the intertwining of the spiritual and the secular, and in activities of the body and the soul. God is a God of order, the First Master Conductor who invented harmony.

He willed that the hands that fold themselves in prayer be the same hands that grasp the broom to sweep away dirt and open the shutters to let fresh, clean air in. These same praying hands handle the saw and hammer to strengthen the structure that will shelter loved ones.

God willed that purification of the soul and strengthening of its resolve be possible through the Sacrament of Confession, which we approach more frequently during Lent. Could He not have willed, too, that the same mind and heart that approach Confession be the same mind and heart that decide to declutter, reduce, reuse, recycle, organize, decorate, and be frugal? After all, a well-run household edifies individual dispositions and family dynamics, making it possible for everyone to do their duties better -- as students, workers, professionals, and members of the Church.

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As children, my siblings and I knew what the end of a school year meant. It meant queuing in the pediatrician's office for routine check-ups and the annual shots. I guess our mother wanted clean bills of health for all her children and to be assured that they were prepared for the next school year and wet season and the bugs that should happen to go with them.

And with all the cleaning and scrubbing and hammering away and sprucing up and preparing, a certain joy surfaces. Joy borne out of thankfulness for the kinder weather and the activities that it makes possible, the abundant breaths of fresh air, the better-than-convalesced bodies, and the reset -- or rebooted, if you will -- minds.

From joy springs renewal, strength, and readiness of body, mind, and especially spirit. Ready for what? Ready to do better, to go further, and to love more. Ready to put one's act together on a daily basis, again and again, because that is what is asked of us and because that is what we want to give.

Now, thankfulness, joy, and renewal, strength, and readiness of spirit... those are sounding a lot like Easter.

A coincidence? We know better.

8 comments:

  1. Lovely post, Marcia, and a great perspective on Lent. It's definitely my favorite liturgical season - I'm one of those people who love to clean up and get things in order!

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    1. Thank you, Anna! Yes, let's get our houses all cleaned and fixed up, although I'm sure that yours is in a far better state than mine :-)

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  2. Marcia, this a wonderful and helpful post. 'The Spiritual and the Secular..." Yes, because we live the two and they cannot be separated; not in our vocations. Thank you for this post.
    At a recent doctrine class that I have been attending, I wrote this quote in my journal:
    "Peace is a tranquility of order."
    I am searching for peace, and I am finding it through getting order back into my life.
    Have a blessed Lenten season, friend.

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    1. Your quote consoles and draws out hope -- peace through order... thanks for sharing! And thank you, too, because I am now reminded that I have to stop skipping the doctrine classes that I should be attending myself :-)

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  3. I love this post.
    Here in North Texas it is becoming Spring-Like as well.
    Windows will be kept open. Spring cleaning and home repair are soon to follow. A little later this year for us because husband is out of Country for a while.
    Booo.
    Anyway - Great analogy.
    Blessings,
    Em

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    1. I love windows kept open. It's not always possible, but I make a ritual out of opening kitchen windows in the morning and inhaling the first whiff of air.

      You'll hold up while the hubby is away, I'm sure. You have a fine bodyguard of a son with you. Blessings...

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  4. BIG thanks for making faith beyond its spirit, and simply in practice of our daily roles, in season.

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  5. Thanks for visiting! Indeed, faith is multi-faceted, and the good Lord surprises us each day.

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