Once I heard one of my most beloved priests, Fr. Benedict Groeschel, say that when he was a little boy, he used to have to think of something sad when he went to confession to dredge up some semblance of contrition. He often thought of the most heartbreaking scenes in the old movie, Lassie. I can picture the little priest-to-be working up his tears. It's an endearing story. Then he said, "Now I go to confession and I don't have to try to make myself cry. All I have to do is think about my life and say, "Look at the mess." For the record, he is a very devout man.
Look at the mess, indeed. I've had a conversation with a few of my lovies around here and we agreed that Lent brings out the best and worst in us. Here we find our most ardent zeal, and most stubborn apathy. We see the green shoots of virtue begin to sprout, and we weary ourselves just looking at the remaining fallow ground that refuses to yield to Spirit's pounding. Lord, have mercy.
Someone, God knows I can't remember who, said that conversion is a violent process. It certainly was for the Apostle Paul. Right now it is for me, too, and I find myself in a soul upheaval that is breaking up a lot of hard ground. God longs for my inner Springtime, but I am aching from the battering of my hard heart. But no growth takes place without God pulling up noxious weeds, and softening our soil. All I can do is hang on to the master gardeners busy hands as he toils with the hope that something beautiful will emerge from all of this. SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL WILL EMERGE!
But for now, the dirt and weeds are flinging everywhere, and I'm appalled at the work that still has to be done. "Look at the mess," I'm saying, but he keeps working. That's what's so amazing. God doesn't shy away from the work it takes to form us. The Omnipresent, Omniscient, timeless God of grace is not only laboring to make the garden of our souls beautiful, he's enjoying the fragrant, colorful wonder that we will be, that's already so apparent to him, but hidden from our dark and mortal eyes.
And hey, he takes a break on the Sabbath. Thank God! Like seriously. All that digging he's doing really freakin' hurts.
How is this season of emerging Spring for you, dear ones?