“Several years ago I heard the bishop of Massachusetts, M. Thomas Shaw, speak at the cathedral in Boston of his experience of being in the Holy Land for Lent that year. There it is summertime during the weeks before Easter, with the desert in full bloom, the trees laden with olives and figs, the hazy smell of ripe fruit and sound of buzzing insects filling the air. As he moved through the days of prayer and reflection before Easter in the midst of such abundance and beauty he came to understand Lent as a time of being refreshed by a loving God instead of a time of arduous effort to improve.” – page 52 from “Welcome to the Church Year: An Introduction to the Seasons of the Episcopal Church” by Vicki K. Black
I think of Lent as both a time to be restored and renewed, and also a time of taking stock. It is a time to strengthen the spiritual life. It is a spiritual “check-in” and can be a time of healing in the most profound of ways. It is time for a re-awakening of our spiritual life, and for Christians this leads up to the renewal of our own baptismal vows on Easter as catechumens are baptized into Christianity.
These weeks of Lent are simpler, quieter and more harmonious than other weeks of the year if we let them be. This can be a busy time of year in the school year calendar for those of you with children, but it is so important to have simplified rhythms as much as possible at home for yourself and for your children.
I was hunting for something else today, but in the process came across an article about celebrating “Carnivale and Lent” by Andrea Gambardella in my favorite little “pink book”, entitled, “An Overview of the Waldorf Kindergarten: Articles from the Waldorf Kindergarten Newsletter 1981 to 1992”. Andrea writes:
“The subject matter of Lent and Easter are deeply personal and engage our thought life in its most mature development. Bringing their essence into family life is to bring forward the simple symbols that indicate its universality. Lent in the Church is a time of fasting, reflection, prayer and almsgiving. These elements engage our whole being – our physical selves, our thoughts, our feelings, and our activity in the community.”
She goes on to mention how Lent is a personal experience of death, “an examining and passing away of our outer selves; recognition of our own highest potential and seeking to identify what work is needed to realize this more fully.”
I would love to hear about your inner spiritual work during this time.