Modern culture tells us that more has to be better, whereas Lent reminds us that less can be best. Fewer meals aid spiritual concentration, fewer television hours leave room for more spiritual reading, and less noise and more silence makes room for God to speak more clearly.
When last have you felt better when you had less of something?
A few years ago, I decided to downsize my possessions. Friends were offered first choice and the rest were to be given to strangers. Every day I passed on a box or two of treasures for someone else to the social worker employed at St. Matthew’s church. A few objects were placed neatly on the ground or on the rectory wall, in the vicinity of the garbage receptacles, for those who sort through trash as they walk along the street, to collect more easily. Do you allow others to benefit from your accumulated blessing?
The more I sorted the more I found my mother’s treasures and decided to use them more regularly. Her wedding set of silverware tarnishes easily but it is the set we use each day, keeping fresh my childhood memories of celebration and gracious hospitality. Crystal candy bowls from our wedding are in plain view with no concern for tops being broken if used. I have decided to give my best, and receive the best that life has to offer each day. Are you using your material and spiritual gifts to show gratitude for what you have received?
Clothes closets were next on my list and what was kept now became my choice on just about any day. Extravagant as God’s energy, as lavish as God’s love, as free as God’s forgiveness, I am trying to really live abundantly more and more each day. What does the abundant life that Jesus Christ promised us look and feel like? Are you living it or seeking it?
What joy it is to appreciate each moment and each blessing that the moment brings. I truly took out of my storehouse things old and new. No building of bigger barns, it was time to break down the barriers and let the secured become the sampled. No holding back. Do you need to examine your storehouse of memories or anything else that limits your spiritual freedom?
My sorting began with boxes that needed to be unpacked, but it became a metaphor for life. It is as if we are to continue as the years go by to “think out of the box” in every aspect of our boxed in existence, more open to life and more open to living, more able to love and more intent on giving.
This Lent, let us trust God’s transforming process more and more. The task is to not stop but keep going in each room of our souls, and sort out what to relinquish and what to retain. The best of who we are may be waiting to be unpacked.