I was away over the weekend and when I returned home last night I was delighted to see that my garden is filled with lots of bright green shoots. Even under the dead brush, there are signs of new life.
A Lenten metaphor
I think the present state of my garden serves as a metaphor for Lent. We are just past the half-way point of Lent and our penance and practice should begin to bear fruit in daily living. For many of us, we made a decision to do some pruning of actions and habits that are not expressive of who we are as disciples of the Lord and of who we want to be. The disciplines we adopted this Lent–more prayer, fasting and abstinence, a more generous spirit ought to be revealing some shoots in an outward and visible way. Can you see where the practices have taken root and the shoots are becoming visible?
Where the real fruit is found
Those of us who are experts at Lent know that any change that happens will become permanent only if we continue to keep the disciplines that we practiced in Lent in place after Lent and beyond. I was reminded of this over the weekend at Mass with Sean Cardinal O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston. I had the privilege of presenting two workshops at the Diocese of Providence Annual Catechetical Day. More than 1200 catechists and parish ministers gathered for Mass and workshops. It was a terrific conference. During his homily Cardinal O’Malley preached on the relationship of prayer and work and quoted this very famous teaching of Mother Teresa:
The fruit of silence is prayer
the fruit of prayer is faith
the fruit of faith is love
the fruit of love is service
the fruit of service is peace.
I think that the shoots we should be seeing in the garden of our souls are indeed silence, prayer, faith, love and service. So, how does your garden grow?