Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
We just put away the Christmas decorations and here we are at Lent. As I write, Patricio and Pat O’Dea are raising the Lenten drapes. Patricio burned last year’s palms yesterday and ashes are in the making. And thanks to Annie and her helpers, the Rice Bowls from Catholic Relief Services and the Lenten daily meditation booklets from Liturgical Press are distributed. Sounds like we’re ready, doesn’t it? Well,...

All those items are but furnishings for a spiritual Easter house we can build. It comes down to what kind of design are we using?

Architectural plans can express someone’s individuality. Usually though, the more personal detail you put in the plan, the more it costs. Trust me. I’ve been there and spent that.
Sometimes, people use “cookie cutter” plans because they are – by design – quicker and cheaper. The post-WWII “Levittowns” were built to provide housing for returning veterans at an affordable cost. There were six models, but all essentially the same. The Levitt brothers ultimately built seven of these townships, that literally provided homes for tens of thousands of families.

So back here at the ranch, we can provide the materials for your construction. Booklets, mini-poor boxes, drapes, ashes... they are all there. What shall we do with them?

I mentioned that I had discovered some old notes going back ten years. Basically, they are reflections on my spiritual journey. I thought maybe I could review them and see if I’m making any progress. What kind of house have I been building?

The issue is, are you going to build a cookie or a masterpiece? Reshaping your heart and soul is heavy lifting but the masterpiece is worth it. No pressure.

I have a few more details that helped me get along the road to Easter. For instance, I heard Pat O’Dea refer to “Shrove” Tuesday. I asked him where the word came from and he pointed me to ‘shrive.” Merriam-Webster says that to shrive someone is to administer the sacrament of Reconciliation.

Shrove Tuesday is also called Pancake Tuesday because pancakes were the perfect way to use up eggs and fats before Lent along with the honey and syrup to put on them. (Love this one.)
Before you think I’ve been completely swallowed up in a whirlwind of trivia, I want you to notice that people were “shriven” on Tuesday before Ash Wednesday so that they could journey without sin. In the past I always thought about Lent being a time of repentance, which it is. Then, after going through a good portion of Lent, you were ready to confess. I never picked up on the significance of “shriving” on Tuesday. (It’s nice to know you can still learn something at 78.)

So, what are we celebrating and how are we doing it? By making the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday a time for “shriving,” the liturgy is tell¬ing us you need to be free of sin (by confessing on Tuesday) so that you could use the Lenten journey as a way of growing into a deeper relationship with the Lord. God willing next year, perhaps we can make a real attempt at paying more attention to “Shrove Tuesday.” The trick is working Shrove into Mardi Gras. We’ve got a year to figure it out.

Meanwhile we’ll still have extra Reconciliation opportunities when the Archdiocese invites people to “come home” on the weekend of March 28th.

Simple wasn’t it? Keep God’s love simple no matter how many little things you read here. Make that the bottom line.

In Jesus,
sign frjim

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