The first day of spring this year is Sunday, March 20. This reminds me that the word “Lent” comes from an Old English word that means “springtime.” Lent is literally our spiritual springtime, and all the things we associate with spring in the natural world also come into play in the supernatural world: new life, growth, and fruitfulness. In the world of gardening, we know the needs of new life: water, light, nutrients, pruning, weeding, and so on. Our Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving could be considered our spiritual “gardening.”
As we seek to cultivate renewed life in our souls, some kind of resolution is useful. At the beginning of Lent, I reviewed the qualities of a good resolution with the students of our school. They responded well to what I said, so I will also remind you: a good resolution is specific, practical, and renewable. Specific means that we focus on some concrete action, and we are clear about when we will perform the action. Practical means that the action is one that we can do without taking away from the duties of our state in life. Renewable means that if we momentarily fail in keeping the resolution, we can take it up again.
The third quality, that the resolution is renewable, is especially important. It’s hard to stick to a particular practice for a full forty days; but it would be a shame to give up just because of a momentary lapse. Rather, we renew the resolution and hopefully we are more vigilant in carrying it out. I hope your Lent has gone well so far, and I pray that all of us will enjoy a renewed spiritual life during this holy season.