Lent: Spring-cleaning for the Soul

This is the Taize chant we used today – hope you enjoy it as you read this post.

The Music Ministry (different choirs in the church) met for a Morning of Recollection.  We were offered one of  Thomas Merton’s writings as a focus for reflection.

“We must remember the original meaning of Lent, as the ver sacrum (sacred spring), the church’s holy spring in which the catechumens were prepared for their baptism …  Lent is then not a season of punishment so much as one of healing” *

I have thought of Spring Cleaning as a rather strange & antiquated idea.  Why wait once a year to declutter when one can do that any time through the year?

Reflecting on my own habits, the tidying doesn’t happen all that often. And if it does, it is often moving things from one location to another.   Accumulating seems to be so much easier than discarding.  As much as I loathe to admit it, I do need a little jumpstart to declutter.

With the coming of Spring, the promise of rebirth & renewal, of fresh starts, we try to take stock of what is important in our lives.  We prioritise, keep what is good and growthful to us, and we attempt to let go of what is harmful or weighing us down.

“Only the inner rending, the tearing of the heart, brings … joy.  It lets out our sins, and lets in the clean air of God’s spring, the sunlight of the days that advance towards Easter” *

Lent is God’s gift to us; a chance to do some spring-cleaning for our souls.  What are the things I cling onto?  The desire for independence, the fear of the future for my children, the need for acceptance by society.  There is nothing inherently wrong about these things, but what if the cost to me is a lesser ability to love and give and live?

“We must cast out … fear.  Fear … shrinks our capacity to love. It freezes up our power to give to ourselves” *

So, I will be taking these next few weeks to spring-clean, both in my home as well as in my life, to use this opportunity to clear out the clutter and start with a cleaner slate.

Have you done your spring-cleaning yet?

* Quotes from Thomas Merton’s “Ash Wednesday: Spriritual Medicine”


This is one of my favourite crosses from the Wild Goose Studio in Cork, Ireland.  It combines two ancient symbols:  the Tree and the Cross.  The Tree promises rebirth with an annual renewal of foliage.  The Cross signifies the resurrection: the victory of life over death.  

May this Tree Cross be a focus for me in this season of spring-cleaning: a reminder that joy will follow the tears.

3 Replies to “Lent: Spring-cleaning for the Soul”

  1. A beautiful post from a year ago. I remember when I would be called on to help my mother and grandmother spring clean. That was when homes were heated with coal and after a long cold winter, the walls and everything else, was covered with black. I was taught to start washing the walls at the ceiling because the water would run down the wall, leaving trails of dirt (that were cleaner than the walls they were streaming down.) Curtains were washed and ironed, and rugs taken out and hung over the clothes line to be beaten clean.
    Yes, now cleaning is more decluttering as we are prone to collect much more than we need. I like the analogy, though, to our spiritual journey during Lent. As I am aging I tend to be more interested in my spiritual journey after, and as a result of, Easter instead of the pre-Easter journey.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Pat, for taking the time to read and to share about your spring-cleaning, and your take on Easter & Lent. And for your kind words – I am encouraged.

      I was reminded this year that Easter Joy continues and that our Lenten observances are best carried on as we strive for a closer walk with Him. So, not so different from your interest in Easter & the journey forward.

      Liked by 1 person

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