Winter and Spring / Lent and Easter
The Catholic Church has a knack for coordinating Her holidays and liturgical seasons with the cycles of nature. Aren’t Lent and Easter wonderful examples?
(Pond in Vilnius, Lithuania)
Winter is a time of death, reflection, and patient suffering: so is Lent. During Lent we Catholics revisit Jesus’ 40 days in the desert when the devil subjected Him to testing (Matthew 4:1-11). Lent is also a time for inner “death”: death to the old self. Hence we practice prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Prayer leads us to trust in God. Fasting reminds us that our ultimate satisfaction comes not from the temporal offerings of this world but rather from the life that only God can give. Almsgiving teaches us to empty ourselves in order to reflect God’s self-emptying in the Incarnation.
(Garden in Salem, Mass.)
Spring, on the other hand, is the season of rebirth and renewal. For Christians, this rejuvenation stems from Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection. Though Jesus rose for us long ago, we can appropriate His rising in a real way right now through baptism. St. Paul writes, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-4). Springtime! Newness of life! The sprinkling of the springtime rain corresponds to the sprinkling of water at baptism. Thus, we renew our baptismal vows each year at springtime in order to remind ourselves of Christ’s work, which we appropriate through the Sacrament of Baptism.
May God bless you this Lent and Easter! May this time bring meaning and joy to your life as it brings healing and life to the earth herself.
David J.W. Inczauskis, n.S.J.