Spring Cleaning for the Soul
The word Lent is a reference to the season of spring. When I was a child, every spring my grandmother would open the windows and doors. Fresh air would fill our home, and cleaning would begin. We did a “deep” cleaning that lasted an entire day. Every inch of the house was cleaned, put into order, and refreshed. We even dusted the coils under the refrigerator. Clothing was sorted into boxes marked “unusable,” “charity,” and “winter.” The winter items were stored away, closets were reloaded with summer items, unusable items were turned into rags, and charity items were given to the poor. Our home was new, clean, and ready for summer.
The same is true in our spiritual Lent, when the Church asks us to renew our lives in Christ. We prepare for the New Life represented by the rising of the Son of God in our hearts as we prepare for the annual celebration of his rising from the dead. We must become more conscious of the promise given to us in the resurrection we celebrate every Easter.
We tend to think of Lent as a time to refrain from doing something, but we’re called to do more than that. The Church asks us to link three things— penance, almsgiving, and prayer—to help us get our lives in order and make straight the path for God in our lives. For example, one could quit smoking as a penance, give the money she would have spent on cigarettes to a homeless shelter, and pray throughout the day during the time she would have spent smoking. After Easter, rather than returning to smoking, she should continue these practices, turning a habit into a virtue of love and charity.
Lent is more than not eating candy for a few days and then returning to our old ways after Easter. Instead, we are called to permanently change our behavior and become better people who move forward year after year in an effort to become more like Christ.
When we make better use of our time, talent, and treasure, we become better stewards of the gifts God has given us—we align our lives a little more with the plan of God.
When we spring clean our souls, we rise to a new- ness of life that Christ wants for each of us