Easter and spring energize us
Sister Joyce Lehman • President, Sisters of the Precious Blood
When I first sat down to write this column we were entering deeply into the Lent/Easter season of the Church year and snow was still on the ground. Here in the northern hemisphere, in spite of the harsh winter, the lengthening days and the emerging grass and flowers were signaling the dominance of the sun and the renewal of life.
The season of Lent is a wonderful reminder to go back to the basics of our discipleship of Jesus Christ. Like baseball players in spring training, we reinforce the good habits that make us successful and identify and overcome those bad habits that hold us back from being fully what we can become. We do the good things over and over until they are deeply engrained. Like spring cleaning, we set about washing, scrubbing, polishing, throwing out the old and unsatisfactory and making space for something new. We dedicate this time of year to a thorough review of our lives, letting go of whatever does not lead us to God and making space for God to do something new in us.
But Lent is not for itself alone just like spring training and spring cleaning are not. The purpose is for what is yet to be. Spring training prepares for the season’s many games to come; spring cleaning prepares the house for guests and family alike. During Lent we set about reminding ourselves of who we are and Whose we are.
Lent is a time to lighten our spiritual load by encouraging us to let go of what bogs us down, what tempts us into “needing” to acquire the things of this world, what hinders us from being able to move nimbly. And moving nimbly is what we will need to do now that Easter is here, the Son has risen, and new life is bursting on the scene. Lent is meant to prepare us to be able to race from the empty tomb to a wounded world with the news that forgiveness is necessary, healing is possible and that what God desires is for us to simply allow God to love us.
And now that both Easter and spring have arrived here in the north, we are energized to activity. With our belief in Christ Risen, we are called to renew our efforts at keeping our own faith fresh and new by witnessing that faith to all those we meet in our daily life and work. The really wonderful realization is that we are not doing this alone … the Resurrected Christ is our constant companion, loving us, urging us on, enjoying our efforts and forgiving our failures. As St. Iranaeus declared: We are an Easter people, and Alleluia is our song.