March 20, 2012

New Growth

The first day of spring! It doesn't seem like such a big deal this year since we have been having such beautiful spring weather for the last month.  My daffodils, which usually bloom in April, have been in full bloom for a week already, and the blossoms on the trees are about to burst forth in color.  The birds are making their nests and the Canadian Geese are stopping traffic on the ramps on and off the parkways here on Long Island.

I love spring!  It's a time of new growth and I have many wonderful memories of childhood walking to school and looking at all the tulips, daffodils and hyacinths blooming in the yards I passed. I loved the smell of freshly mowed lawns that have laid dormant all winter. Spring meant time for the bicycles to come out of the garage and to locate our roller skate key (us Boomers remember those).  It was time for jumprope, chalk on the sidewalks, new pink Spauldines and bubblegum baseball cards.

Spring also meant Easter was near.  Easter is less than three weeks away and we are counting down to the final days of Lent. Lent by the way means spring, but you probably knew I was going to make a connection somehow.  New growth is all around us, but how about our spiritual growth?  This Lent has been good.  One of the better ones of the past few years.  I did slip up here and there but there has been so much inner growth, some healing of past hurts, and an emerging fervor in evangelizing others.

I think much of my growth this Lent has to do with Robert Barron's Catholicism series. I have been presenting them three times a week at work and to friends at home, and I never get tired of seeing the same episodes over and over again. Each time I see an episode I pick up some new tidbit of information or insight. It's like my daffodils.  I never get tired of them and each year they multiply and bring me more joy. If you haven't seen the series find a parish near you that is showing them or ask your library to purchase the set, or splurge and buy a set for yourself.

Our Catholic faith is a great treasure that needs to be celebrated and shared.  This Lent has been a time of persecution for the Church but it has also been a time of rebirth and renewed fervor for what the Church can offer us, new life in Christ. In times of persecution the Church has grown stronger. In these final days of Lent, if you haven't already, renew your commitment to Christ and His Church. Visit a parish near you, celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation, and re-discover the joy of being Catholic.

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