In Catholic school days of my childhood, Lent meant giving something up, like chocolate or candy or dessert or watching television…more of a nuisance; not really anything connected spiritually.
Many years later, in a parish miles away from that small town, along comes the most gorgeous eye-candy priest walking down the aisle–with sandals and flowing robes and a voice and stories and presence that touched my heart and soul. That year, instead of ‘giving up’ something, I added something to feed my spirit: a mid-week church visit. It was uncanny how the message always seemed to be just for me…
Years later, I did give something up for Lent, choosing a vegetarian lifestyle. And it was spiritual…doing something, making a change, that fed my spirit.
It had been happening for awhile. And using Lent in this way was an honoring and aligning of my lifestyle with my compassionate heart and soul, love for animals, and to first do no harm to another living creature if I could help it. It felt good and still does.
The season that Catholics call Lent — and that others just know as the quiet time of year between the winter and the spring — is a time of reflection, going within, and maybe testing out actions of stepping into our spiritual authenticity…whatever that means specifically for each of us.
This is soul time, a renewal of ourselves, a re-alignment of our spirit and deeds.
There are always catalysts that propel us, life events that are defining moments, that change us. We don’t seek them out; they find us. They can be whispers, visions, or roars of awakening.
Others around us will be oblivious….and we will be profoundly, directly, and specifically touched…and compelled to act or change or be taken in a whole new direction.
From cocoon to butterfly, acorn to oak. Transformations of a lifetime…becoming much more of who we really are. That’s what this season–and living–is really about. Our soul did not come here to hide forever. Nature’s way is to grow.