Sunday, March 15, 2009

Seeing the Dirt

I've been on the RCIA team at my parish in Louisville, and this weekend I led dismissal with our catechumen and candidates. We had such a good discussion of today's readings. In the first reading we got the Ten Commandments, in the second we got Paul's reflection on the foolishness of the sign of resurrection, and in the Gospel we got Jesus "cleansing the temple." Together they provide good food for thought: if my body is a "temple of the Spirit," how do I need to clean house? How clear of a sign of the resurrection is my life? As the priest said in the homily I heard this weekend, these readings are about spring cleaning, going into the rooms and closets of one's soul and bringing things to light.

Last night I was sitting in our living room when I looked over behind the couch nearby and noticed that the air vent along that wall was just loaded with dirt. The dust was so thick it was hanging out and had coated the wall nearby, catching on cobwebs. Now don't get me wrong: I generally vacuum and dust this room every week, but I'd never noticed this nastiness before. Despite common monastic practice, I can't say that I generally spend all my time checking out all the little corners of things. But brought to light, brought to my attention, I had to do something.

I think it's the same way with our souls during Lent. This is, literally and figuratively, time for cleaning house. The Ten Commandments provide a good inventory, for starters: how well do I keep holy the sabbath? How well do I really honor my parents? How well do I speak truthfully and protect the good name of others? Do I covet? Do I get jealous of other people, their talents, or their stuff? As we continue our Lenten practices, we should be becoming more aware of where our dirt is. Once you really see it, it's a lot easier to do something about it.

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