A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Posts Tagged ‘spring

cat in the sun

Pixie basking in the sun

Hope is the only bee that makes honey without flowers.

~ Robert G. Ingersoll, quoted in the Book of Positive Quotations, 2nd Edition

Earlier this month, I saw the first real signs of spring in my yard. Not the mud patches exposed by the melted snow, or the brown grass beginning to turn green, but the purple and yellow crocuses that were quickly followed by early stardrift.

I heard the sounds of spring in the early morning birdsong outside my bedroom window. And I felt spring in the sunshine—not the cold glare of winter sun, but the warm rays of spring our cats and dog (and even our corn snake) like to bask in.

The arrival of spring gives the world a fresh start and offers us hope that life goes on—just as Jesus’ resurrection gives us both the hope of new life in him now and the hope of eternal life.

The scriptures talk about the hope that we have in Jesus. The apostle Paul, in Romans 15:13*, speaks of our God as “the God of hope”: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

Note that we’re called to “abound in hope,” not just to have a faint hope that God will be with us and help us. And when we feel as though we don’t dare to hold out hope anymore—for recovery from an illness, for a child to return to the church, for other long-awaited good news—we need to remember that we can ask the Holy Spirit to renew our hope. As Psalm 147:11 reminds us, God longs for us to place our hope always in him, in his power and in his faithful love for us:

His delight is not in the strength of the horse,

nor his pleasure in the legs of a man;

but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him,

in those who hope in his steadfast love.

Even when life throws us a curve ball, we can think about the times God has strengthened us in the past and continue to hope and trust in him, as the psalmist does in Psalm 43:5:

Why are you cast down, O my soul,

and why are you disquieted within me?

Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,

my savior and my God.

I pray that, whatever situations we face, we would hold onto our hope in the Lord and his love for us.

stardrift

Early stardrift in my garden

Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark.

~ George Iles, quoted in the Book of Positive Quotations, 2nd Edition

(*Scripture quotes taken from the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition.)

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(F)or behold, the winter is past,

the rain is over and gone.

The flowers appear on the earth,

the time of pruning has come,

and the voice of the turtledove

is heard in our land.

(Song of Solomon: 2:11-12, Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition)

With its grimy snow and slush slowly melting to reveal mud and dormant grass, March is not my favourite month.

But I like the idea of taking out my running shoes and putting away winter boots that look like Rescue Heroes footwear. And the start of spring makes me look forward to seeing the flowers I’ve planted poke through the soil at the end of April. (Well, this is Ottawa, so I’d better err on the side of caution and say the middle of May.)

Anticipation makes things more enjoyable. Like when you look forward to eating some good chocolate at the end of Lent and finally savour that melt-in-your-mouth candy.

At this time last year, my husband and I were anticipating joining the Church and receiving Holy Communion at the Easter Vigil, after months of RCIA preparation. Not only did I have the joy of receiving the Eucharist at Easter, but I also felt a new sense of belonging as many people told us how happy they were for us.

I’m more involved in the life of the parish now: I’m a lector (I’ll be reading at the Easter Vigil) and I’m helping out with First Eucharist. This year, I’ll see the anticipation in the faces of our RCIA candidates at Easter and the excitement of the Grade 2 children as they prepare to receive the Eucharist for the first time in the weeks that follow, and the joy all of them will take in participating fully in the Mass.

But what comes after the Easter Vigil or First Eucharist?

I hope that anticipation gives way to joy at being able to receive the Eucharist, where Jesus is truly present. I hope people would choose to take an active role in their parish by volunteering, supporting parish initiatives and attending social functions. I hope faith would be part of their daily lives and not something saved for Sundays.

I pray that we would look forward to welcoming the newest members of the Church at Easter and encourage the children celebrating First Eucharist—and that God would guide the cardinals as they prepare to choose the new head of the Church.


Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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