Fourth Sunday of Lent
March 22, 2020
Laetare! Rejoice! Lent has run half its distance to Easter.
I know it may be a bit difficult to rejoice in this Corona time, but think of this.
Spring has stepped over the horizon! The long winter watch is over. But before we shake off its black velvet wraps for good, it might be well to think about what winter has taught us. It may strengthen us for this unusually challenging spring!
The stretch of time between November and April is all about waiting. Bulbs wait under the frozen earth. Bears hibernate in the cold mountains. Birds migrate, their old nests empty until the spring. All creation seems to enter a time of patience and unrealized expectation. But it is not a time of desolation. It is a time of hope for things yet unseen. Perhaps we can make our Corona time that kind of hopeful time.
We human beings also experience “winter” – not simply the seasonal one – but “winters of the spirit”. We all go through times when our nests have been emptied; times when all the beautiful flowering aspects of our lives seem dormant; times when our vigor and strength seem to hide in the cave of depression or sadness. These “winters” take many forms. We may find ourselves sick of a job we had always loved. We may find a long, committed relationship wavering. We may find the burdens of age or economics overwhelming us. We may be the unwilling bearers of responsibilities we had not bargained for.
But if we listen, under the deep silence of waning winter, the wind rustles. It carries the hint of a new season. It carries the hope of the renewing cycle of our lives. In that silence, we may be able to hear our own heartbeat more clearly. We may come to a clearer understanding of what is most important in our lives. In the stillness, we may be forced to know and understand ourselves in a deeper way.
In this time of global angst and uncertainty, I think of a powerful image from the works of St. Teresa of Avila. St. Teresa imagines God as a warm healer leaning over our frozen world, setting free the beauty of our spirits. This is what she says:
And God is always there, if you feel wounded.
He kneels over this earth like a divine medic,
and His love thaws the holy in us.
When we are compassionate and offer one another hope and light, we free what is sacred in us and we do a holy work. Every time you touch another person’s life, — in these times, from at least six feet away — you have the chance to change winter into spring. You have a chance to be like God.
Call someone who may feel very alone. Be “Laetare” for them! Pray for someone suffering illness or loss. Send healing hopes to those you may not even know in distant places of our shared earth. Light, Easter rising and renewed life will come. Let us trust God and hold one another up as we wait.