As we begin the season of Lent, we realize that it is time to refocus and renew our efforts to follow the ways of love that Jesus has taught us. We could think of it as a sort of spiritual spring cleaning.
Years ago, I had a friend who came to my house and helped me with my spring house cleaning. The first thing we did was to clean the windows. Even though the panes did not really appear that dirty, it certainly made a difference after the washing was done. Maybe we could do something spiritually to make our vision clearer in how we look at people and situations in our lives. It is easy to get stuck in certain modes of thought and opinion that may not be so charitable, understanding, or sensitive. Today’s liturgy reading from the Book of Leviticus reminds us to judge others justly. Perhaps we could look again through our relationship windows and consider if they are as clean as they should be—even in little matters and prejudices. Habits can form quite fast in our busy lives.
Spring cleaning can include sorting through possessions and deciding if some of them need to be tossed out, or, if in good condition, donated to worthy causes. We could sort through our talents and skills and possibly decide to donate some or our time and talent to help other people in need. Kind words, a random phone call, and gentle listening ears can fall into this category as well.
Dust seems to land and stay around in many places. Could it be that we should dust off that Bible or those books on a spiritual subject that we keep meaning to read, and spend some Lenten time reading? We do have to improve on purpose! Spring cleaning is work! It does make life better!
Repentance is a good way to spring clean our spiritual life. The sacrament of reconciliation is a way of drawing closer to our Savior, and we don’t have to wait until the last few days before Easter Sunday.
Psalm 51:12-14 is a good repentance prayer:
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
Give me back the joy of your salvation,
and a willing spirit sustain in me.
So, as we start on this year’s Lenten journey, we can pray with Ephesians 4:23-24:
…and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created in
God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth.