I had two good titles for this post, so I used them both :)
Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart...Joel 2:12
If the Good God thought that a day was enough for our sanctification, I suppose He might have limited our perception of time to that span. Every day would be enough -- we'd wake up with a renewed spirit, go along experiencing all the challenges each twenty-four hours brings, and in the evening we'd ask for forgiveness for what we'd done.
I'm not suggesting that Mardi Gras doughnuts are the worst sin :)
There would be no need for the seven days of a week, with its uphill climb of work and then the mercy of rest on Sunday. There would be no need for the four seasons of the year, with their rhythm of growth, bounty, fading glory, and cold death. There would be no mirror of our spiritual life in the nature we see all around us.I'm not sure what mirror bunnies hold up to our nature. But they are our bunnies.
We go along with our hearts more -- and often less -- fixed on the things that matter; we see those in our family getting closer -- or perhaps not so close -- to the Lord.
It occurs to us mothers that we should do something about it -- sweep out the debris, find the tender buds under the snow, look for purification.
Can we do this on our own? What if a long time goes by before we are reminded? What if we get wearied by having so many things to think about all the time? What if we are too ground down by routine to listen to Jesus?What if families have faced just these same questions for ever?
Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. Jer 6:16The old paths suggest that we can't rely on ourselves for this renewal. And so the Church has given us this time to prepare in a specific way for the unspeakable glory of Easter. All of Christendom turns a waiting ear to hear more. We don't have to go on our efforts: our Mother the Church opens her arms with what we need, just at this moment.Does it not make sense -- Biblical sense -- to allot forty days (with all that forty days means, right from Noah to Jesus fasting in the wilderness) to prepare for the great Feast that comes all too soon for our poor natures to quite grasp?
(Funny -- we are getting ready for a wedding, we mothers and daughters. We are considered borderline insane for not budgeting an entire year for the preparations necessary for this feast!)
These are the crosses I could muster this morning.
Even now, says the LORD, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting...
Blow the trumpet in Zion! proclaim a fast, call an assembly;
Gather the people, notify the congregation;
Assemble the elders, gather the children and the infants at the breast;
Let the bridegroom quit his room and the bride her chamber.
In an acceptable time I heard you,
and on the day of salvation I helped you.
Behold, now is a very acceptable time;
behold, now is the day of salvation.
Jesus said to his disciples:..."When you fast,
do not look gloomy like the hypocrites.
They neglect their appearance,
so that they may appear to others to be fasting.
Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you fast,
anoint your head and wash your face,
so that you may not appear to be fasting,
except to your Father who is hidden.
And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you." [Suggesting that there is an acceptable time for fasting!]
Readings from the Mass for Ash Wednesday found here, only part of a sound Scriptural basis for Lent!
Thanks to Monday's Muse for hosting the link!