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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Serge Bertasius Photography /
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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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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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.