It’s spring! After a long winter, those can be the some of the most exciting words that we can hear. Easter is just around the corner. Are you ready for Easter and for summer?
During spring, we start to clean our houses and our yards in anticipation of summer. The days get longer, and it gets warmer. We open the windows and let in that fresh air Spiritually, Lent is also in bloom. It is a time set aside by the Church to help us prepare in anticipation of Easter. What do spring and Lent have in common? They both represent a time for new birth; a new beginning. This week, I’d like you to consider getting some spring cleaning started — on your soul. Yup, that’s right, your soul!
Give your soul much thought lately? It’s easy to forget about it since we can’t see it, but it is our very essence as children of God. It is the center of it all. It is our authentic self. It is the part of us that will live forever. Yet, most of us spend very little time thinking about it, and very little time dusting it off or cleaning it out.
You see, you’ve got to work on your soul.
I’m always amazed, especially as I grow older and rounder, of the amount of money and time spent in working on that beautiful look, that special outfit or that perfect body. How many hours a week do we dedicate to those pursuits? In contrast, just how many hours do we spend on our soul?
With your soul, you’ve got to use it or lose it! You can’t ignore your health and hope that you’ll be OK when you get older. You can’t ignore your studies and hope that you’ll pass. You can’t ignore watering a plant and hope that it will live. Well, you can’t ignore your soul and hope it will carry you into the next life either.
So how do we work on our souls? I’m not sure there is any one way. We can start by taking “time to just slow down” and “take an opportunity to go on an inner retreat.” Many of us are afraid to be alone with ourselves, aren’t we? Is it because we just might be afraid of what we’ll learn? In order to work on your soul you need to experience solitude and silence first. It is only then that we can look into our very souls and begin to clean it out, to remove the junk and to dust things off. Then you’ll be able to know what God wants from you. Only in that silence and solitude will you be able to hear God’s voice speaking to you. That is what will make your soul healthy.
Take some time this Lent and spring to work on your soul. Sit and just be. Consider attending the Stations of the Cross on a Friday night or an extra Mass or two. Go to Reconciliation. Read a passage in the Bible each day or maybe even a chapter! Read some of the other articles in The Anchor. Tune in one of the religious TV channels and just listen. Attend the beautiful services planned during Holy Week and really try to understand what is going on and why. Attend one of the Lenten services sponsored by parishes in the diocese. All of these things will clear the cobwebs from your soul. They might help you unburden yourself of all the junk that we all accumulate in our souls. All of these things will give your soul a good workout. All of these things will help you develop a stronger, more “beautiful”, more “perfect” soul. It will be like you threw open the windows of your soul and let in that breath of fresh air! It will be like springtime for your soul, leading to a new and more active “summer.”
See you at the “gym” and I don’t’ mean Planet Fitness!
Anchor columnist Deacon Frank Lucca is a permanent deacon in the Diocese of Fall River assigned to St Mary’s Parish in Dartmouth, and a campus minister at UMass Dartmouth. He is married to his wife of nearly 44 years, Kristine, and the father of two daughters and their husbands, and five grandsons.