Spiritans - TransCanada

Spiritans - TransCanada


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Spring Cleaning - LENT 2023

The word “Lent” comes from an old English word that means “springtime” so it reminds us of Spring cleaning and the new life budding forth in nature.  This season of Lent is a time of special grace for us in which we want to do some Spring cleaning in our lives and experience new life as a result.

Rend Your Hearts, Not Your Garments 

In my years as a priest with the Spiritans, a missionary congregation, I have changed ministries and residences many times and am frequently on the move. So, I have made it a practice to do Spring  cleaning,  to go through my things and throw out the junk, and give away to the poor that which I am not using. In this way, I try to trim down my possessions every so often so I do not accumulate too much and become overburdened with “stuff.” This makes moving much easier.

We can think of Lent as a time of Spring  cleaning – evaluating what is necessary in our lives and what is just junk we are holding onto. Maybe we are holding onto past hurts, past grudges. Maybe we are hoarding bad feelings about ourselves, every so often taking out our old wounds and going through them like an old photo album. 

This spiritual cleaning is not cleaning for its own sake, nor is it for the sake of showing how good, how prayerful, how holy and how spiritual we are. No, it is about unburdening ourselves and making space for God. The Ash Wednesday  Scripture reading from the prophet Joel says: “Rend your hearts, not your garments (Joel 2:13).” From the Old Testament, we read accounts of people who would wear dirty, torn clothes and put dirt or ash on their faces as a sign of sorrow or repentance. As Catholics, we put a bit of ash on our foreheads as a sign of repentance and a reminder of our mortality. There is nothing wrong with such symbolic gestures but  a symbol that is only skin deep or for show is empty. God is not as interested in the outward signs but more so the innermost changes in our hearts.

Of course as Christians, we should be engaged in spiritual pruning every day, but our God is loving, kind and patient and thus we have many opportunities. Lent is merely a reminder to take stock in our lives.

When I am doing my Spring cleaning,  I take some boxes out of my closet, and go through them. Some of the things in the boxes are really of no use and should be thrown out, but it is can be difficult  especially in the case of sentimental value. We have such things in our own lives too, stuff we might have been trying to get rid of for years and we can’t quite do it. 

Maybe this Lent will be an opportunity for us to sweep and clean our spiritual house.

Fr. Paul McAuley, CSSp

Blessed Daniel Brottier FEBRUARY 28th

Fr. Daniel Brottier, CSSp was a Roman Catholic priest of the Spiritan missionary Congregation. He laboured in Senegal, ministered to soldiers in the trenches of WWI and later founded orphanages in France. Daniel Brottier was declared "Blessed" by our Holy Father in Rome on November 25th, 1984.

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