Today, the day before Ash Wednesday, is commonly known as ‘shrove‘ or ‘pancake’ Tuesday.
This day is more widely known in many parts of the world as Mardi Gras (ie fat Tuesday), or ‘Carnival‘ (literally ‘goodbye meat’). These celebrations began years ago when the fasting really was tough: 40 days without meat or dairy products hence the bingeing on pancakes to empty the larder.
I recall at this time last year a friend who lives above the equator Facebooked: “Spring is in the air and it is GOOD!” That may be true for the northern hemisphere, but here in the south the leaves are beginning to turn and fall: it’s almost Autumn for us. ‘Lent’ as ‘spring’? That doesn’t sound right.
But the word Lent is actually derived from the Old English word meaning spring – as in ‘lengthening of the days’.
This made sense for the people who first celebrated the Christian feasts a couple of thousand years ago. Lent coincided with the season of spring so that Easter would come right at the time when the world of nature was springing into new life.
When we see Lent as an opportunity to spring-clean the life of the soul, wonderful possibilities of new life open up for us.
We realise that in the busy-ness and demands of daily life, we accumulate many thoughts, routines and practices that may not deliver the happiness that they promise.
To the extent that these accretions become habitual, our freedom is limited. To the extent that our freedom is limited, happiness eludes us.
And this is the kind of ‘spring-cleaning’ that is the purpose and heart of Lent: a letting go of all that limits us, restricts us, and therefore prevents us finding the happiness we seek.
No longer are we satisfied with the masks and disguises of Mardi Gras, but the reality of our sin being transformed by the risen Jesus who is God-in-love-with-us.
- Invite the Holy Spirit to reveal to you a daily commitment or discipline for Lent which will help you to grow in maturity of relationship with Jesus.
- Share this link with others inviting them to sign up to receive these daily email reflections: www.foodforfaith.org.nz. Or if you are chatting with a friend today just invite them to search Food For Faith and sign up, or you can sign them up by following the link and adding their email address.
nice to have you back again Fr J
Amen looking forward to receive your daily Prayers Father John
Will have to make my famous pikelets today and share with family to celebrate Pancake Tuesday.
Enjoyed your post follow on from you homily on Sunday at. St Thomas.
So love your posts and excited as we move into Lent waiting for the Holy Spirit to do his springcleaning in me !
Spring cleaning is a better focus than doom and gloom it is proactive and life giving
Pancakes with mushrooms and pancakes with maple syrup for dinner tonight-yummmmmmy
Spring cleaning our souls and letting go as we head into winter sounds like a good challenge. I missed out on the pan aces but finished off the Christmas scorched almonds! Nice to be back to your reflections Fthr John
Pancakes with lemon and sugar, or nutella, for dinner tonight here!
Chatting to my grandchildren tonight about what to give up for Lent … 11 yr old granddaughter is giving up dessert, the 8 yr old grandson thought showers might be a good thing!!
Just spoken to cousins in the Netherlands who always celebrate carnival but for them this year it’s not just goodbye meat, it’s goodbye carnival – no celebrations at all with total lockdown. We have it easy!
Great to have you back fr John, paddy and I look forward to your daily reflections food for our souls , and time to be together to pray, and reflect and share with each other thankyou