Ah spring! It is the time of year when I open the windows for fresh air, clean away winter’s clutter, and get the garden patch ready for planting. Embraced by the sun’s light and warmth, I love to be in the midst of budding trees and flowers as I prepare my garden and plant my seeds. Honestly, I always buy more seeds than I am ever able to plant!
Of course, spring is a glorious time of year for another reason. Perhaps God gives us the signs and wonders of spring—nature’s rebirth after the dead of winter—to inspire our own preparations for the celebration of Easter. With the Resurrection of Christ, God gives us the way to be reborn. The Light of the world embraces and frees us from the darkness of sin and death, enabling each of us to recognize God’s love in our lives. So how can we prepare?
For God’s love to enter into our being and our world, we need to be opened! Think of Mary, our Blessed Mother. Mary was completely open to accept our Lord into herself at the Annunciation and she remained open to accept all of us into her heart at the foot of her Son’s cross. Where would we be if Mary had closed her mind, hardened her heart, and refused the Holy Spirit in her soul? For the love of God and humanity, may we always remain open to our Lord and may we never forget that “God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him.” [1 John 4:16]
To make room for our Lord’s love, we need to clean away the clutter of sin and distraction from our hearts, minds, and souls. The season of Lent gives us the opportunity to cleanse ourselves of habits, vices, attachments, or anything else that distracts us from following our Lord’s will and His way. Consider this: In His act of humility, obedience, and love of God, Christ emptied Himself to be filled with the Holy Spirit which our Lord pours out as a gift of love to each of us. For holiness to unfold in our lives, we must make ourselves the proper dwelling place for our Lord.
“The seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold,” said Jesus [Matthew 13:23]. With the Word of God planted in our hearts, minds, and souls, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, we can be Christ-like in our daily living and see Christ in others as we share the fruits of peace, hope, and love with one another.
Out of the greatness of His love and through His life, death, and Resurrection, our Lord gives us everything we need to start life anew. In return, for the love of the Holy Trinity and for one another, we are called to participate in the Lord’s work of our redemption, which reminds me of a story:
A man and woman, very distraught about today’s problems, walk into a store and see Jesus Christ standing behind the sales counter. As they look for something to lift their spirits, Jesus suggests they make a list of what they want to buy. They list peace, hope, and love for the world. In return, Jesus gives them a packet of seeds as well as the equipment and instructions to make them grow. He explains that to have peace, hope, and love grow in the world, they have to work the seeds and tend to them daily so nothing will impede their growth. The man and woman left the store, buying nothing.
Each one of us has a unique offering of peace, hope, and love to give to the world because each one of us is unique by God’s design—like flowers in a garden. From the tiniest wild flower to the sweetest rose, each flower serves a purpose—to bring beauty into our world.
The same holds true for us. Big or small, rich or poor, single or married, weak or strong, each of us has a purpose—to bring the beauty of peace, hope, and love into the world by the way we live, work, and treat one another. So long as we remain faithful and prayerful to God, nothing is impossible. And like flowers in the spring, prayer and good works have a way of spreading— while giving glory to God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!
Carol Monaco is an independent writer and speaker. For the past 17 years, she has been the writer/editor of Journey to Our Lady, a spiritual publication that helps readers seek out a closer relationship to our Blessed Mother, who draws the faithful closer to the Holy Trinity. From her Journey, Carol has authored Treasures of the Rosary and Heavenly Mother Help Me; Prayers, Poetry and Prose for Daily Living, as companions for individuals trying to live their faith every day. Her devotional columns can be found in Liguorian magazine, CatholicStand.com and Catholic365.com. Carol’s spiritual reflections, poetry, and prayers are available on her web site: www.journeytoourlady.com and on Twitter: Carol Monaco @journey2ourlady.