Feb 23, 2012

Fr Freddy's March message

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Category: General
Posted by: suzi hedgecock

By the time you read this, the Season of Lent will have begun; I’m certainly not ready for Lent yet.  Christmas seems just behind us and Lent seems an unwelcome guest at a time when “austerity” is government policy.

The word “Lent” is an old Saxon word for Springtime.  As the buds open on the trees and the days “lengthen”, this is a spiritual season which calls for reflection on our lives and openness to God.  The popular idea of “giving up” something for Lent sounds rather negative nowadays.  Perhaps doing more for others would be better.  Anyway, the spirit of the season is expressed by restraint and a time for decluttering our lives!  All this in preparation for the celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in Holy Week and Easter.

Although it’s only a secondary theme of Lent, Jesus spending time in the wilderness does occupy my thoughts during these weeks.  Jesus on the moors for us in this neck of the woods.  Desert or moorland – places of solitude and great places to reflect.  It helps to have the rocky, wild landscape when you’re seeking God.  A friend of mine was once a guest of the Dean of Westminster during Lent and he told me of walking at midnight through the Abbey with just a little light here and there.  Plantagenets gleaming, their hands stiff with prayer, black windows, black slabs in Poets’ Corner, ravishing angels aloft, white nobodies on plinths, lovely distances, a trapped holiness, and not a soul in sight.  The Unknown Soldier – ebony deep, his artificial flowers blackest of all.  Look, Anne of Cleves lies over there; they said that Anne and Henry VIII played cards on their wedding night, which was one way of passing the time: Henry almost fainted when he saw her.

Why do we want to keep Lent anyway?  Why do we faithfully keep the church calendar rolling along?  Because some of us feel drawn to this kind of life – trying to “grow” in the spirit of our Lord – always learning from Jesus about God and his dealings with us.  And what have we learned?  We believe in a loving creator and sustaining God, one whom Jesus taught us to address as “Father”.  God shares in our joys and supports us in time of need.  God created us for a full and abundant life, a life rich in meaning.  We are the more fully human, the more we share in the loving resurrection kind of life, made known to us in Jesus; so much so, that we try to base our lives on this.  Of course, we keep falling short; but we keep on picking ourselves up and we keep on trying to turn to God.

Fr Freddy

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