Six months ago we had a flood at our home which caused extensive damage to our first floor. As the walls were being removed, we discovered mold, some that was caused by the flood and some that had been there for quite some time, growing and spreading. The discovery of mold led to the removal of ceilings and sub floors. Until recently, our first and second floors were exposed down to floor and ceiling beams!
As I begin to prepare for the season of Lent, I find that our home renovation is a nice working image for the spiritual potential of Lent. Like how a fresh coat of paint can completely change the feel of a room, adding some more time for personal prayer or joining in a service project might be enough to enrich your spiritual life. On the other hand, the season of Lent is really about a much larger renovation project. Lent invites us with the tools of prayer, fasting and almsgiving to strip the old paint off, to pull up the floors and look for the sin that is like mold. What is the sin, that like mold is growing unseen within us but spreading out through our thoughts and actions. Through the disciplines of Lent we are called to strip away the walls that may be allowing that sin to spread.
This Lent the archdiocese has some tools to offer for the renovation project. If you are thinking about praying more with Scripture, consider buying the newly revised New American Bible which is the fruit of almost 20 years of new Scholarship on the books of the Old Testament. Again this year, on Wednesday evenings in the Archdiocese of Washington and Diocese of Arlington churches will be open for prayer and confession.
We can make our fasting a tool for feeding the hungry by participation in Operation Rice Bowl. I know that the presence of the rice bowl on my table is a reminder of the fast I have chosen and it makes it easy to put the money I save by giving up my daily Starbucks fix right in the bowl.
Our Environmental Concerns committee is offering a Lent Calendar that invites us to reflect on the stewardship dimension of our discipleshipfrom an environmental perspective through prayer and a “carbon fast.” All of these are tools to aid us in deepening our relationship with the Lord and leaving go of bad habits that grow into sin and take on good habits that grow into virtues.