Springtime In The Soul

Lynne Elwinger, O.C.D.

Spring and seeds are sisters, carrying within themselves unimaginable potentialities for transfiguration-producing growth and change. I find it almost impossible to think of one without the other. Seeds, appearing as they do in an infinite variety of shapes, sizes, colors and blueprints for fruition, hold within in their tiny containers powerful energy systems for bringing forth the future of their kind. Carrying the histories of their species, together with new possibilities gained from past experiences and unique responses to those experiences, seeds are repositories of the sacred secrets of creation modified by individual trial and error, weather and geography. The lengthening hours of spring daylight, in combination with gentle rains, encourage sleeping seeds to wake from their naps and begin sprouting forth new life. Spring seems to be the “good news” time of nature, bustling with energies of birthing, budding and becoming!

Something New And Beautiful

Entering this season of Lent, I have found myself musing on the presence of God as seed within each human spirit, within each human heart. As we take more time to reflect on our spiritual journeys – where we have been and where we are going – I see it as a means of preparing our soul-soil for nurturing another growing cycle for the divine seed planted there. Looking at Lent in this way, there seems to be a greater harmony between the liturgical season and the springtime of the year. The concept of nurturing spiritual growth feels quite different from the tone of penance, pruning, and letting go of things, which for me were the dominant themes of past Lenten seasons (and seemed more appropriate to late autumn than to spring). Disciplines and examinations of conscience and of the way we are living, are certainly a part of this soil preparation, as are tilling, weeding, and fertilizing in a garden. But with the focus of energy on the birthing of something new and beautiful, there is a more joyous aspect to the process than I have experienced in many Lenten seasons. We can await the birth of another year of our spiritual lives as eagerly as we anticipate the birth of a child, as happily as we wait for spring flowers.

Meister Eckhart has told us that God’s seed is within us and is meant to grow God-nature in the garden of our souls. It is exciting to think of all the surprises contained in that divine seed planted deep in heart and soul as part of our creation in the image and likeness of God. Each growing season brings out some new flowers and fruit and calls attention to areas needing weeding, watering, fertilizing, and yes, pruning too. And all of this is for the future seasons of becoming, seasons that as yet remain in the realm of mystery. Who can know what God has planned for the fruition of the human spirit! The wonderful Good News of Lent and, of course, of Easter, is that God is always with us as an inseparable part of our being. We can get distracted from our awareness of that divine presence, but we are never abandoned by it. We may not always recognize it when it doesn’t exactly fit with the images we have of God, but that never means that God is suddenly absent. We always walk accompanied by our loving Creator, whose tending of our inner seedbed, is unfailing.

The Best Place To Find God

St. Teresa has told us that the best place to find God is within ourselves (most likely, I suspect, in the garden). Perhaps our Lenten practices could be focused on opening up to the increased light and gentle rains of God that are bringing to us all we need for another season of spiritual growth and fruiting. Perhaps it’s not so much about letting God into our hearts and our lives, as it is about letting the already present God out – of letting the seed sprout.

The One who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 2 Cor 9:10

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