Wednesday, March 09, 2005


Winter is a kind of Lent in and of itself. Denial is a way of life in a season that, by definition, limits. There are no caressing breezes of the south wind, no consoling visions in green. The dirt is hard, iced, not compliant to your ancestrally-conditioned hands, hands made for feeling the soft body of earth in an Ireland made temperate by the surrounding seas.

Embedded in late winter comes Lent and I feel sorry for those in the Southern Hemisphere. The Church was tailor-made for Western Europeans, the feasts all placed for maximum benefit to the Northern Hemisphere. Dec. 25 rightly comes near the equinox when light begins to increase; St. John the Baptist’s feast rightly comes just when the light begins to decrease to give witness to “I must decrease and he must increase”.

Lenten prescriptions are just that – prescriptive. Healing. Much as I am loathe to admit it, I’m thinking that at some point spiritual progress can’t be made without the purposeful withdrawal of inherently good things, like eating, blogging. There are few better ways to assert who is the Boss. That only God matters. Lent is cleansing. I’ve learned this Lent not to try to be who I am not. I am not Tom of Disputations, who is learned and seems focused only on the things of God. His particular charism is more OT prophet-like than mine. I yam what I yam, says Popeye, but so is the “everyman” Christian from the gospel reading last week. He received his sight, but only in degrees.

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