Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Scent of Lent

[Image of John the Baptist by Lucinda.
She created this liturgical art for Advent, not Lent, but both are seasons of reflection and expectation.]

While I am no longer a practicing Catholic, the stories remain the base note of my life.
They smell like ozone during thunderstorms; the scent of burying your nose in your favorite pet; lilacs in the backyard; the iron drip of blood; flying fish off starboard; leaf mulch under spring ice; a splash of melting beeswax on your hand; dusty feet and sweaty leather...

If Lent were a perfume, it would be dark and bright:
burned bone and honey,
black pepper and pear,
musk and lemon,
crushed cilantro and mint.

Sometimes Lent is misrepresented as a gloomy time. While it is a time of inwardness, it is not at all about getting stuck in the muck.
Look, here's part of the reading from Isaiah 58 for today, Ash Wednesday:

"When thou shalt pour out thy soul to the hungry, and shalt satisfy the afflicted soul then shall thy light rise up in darkness, and thy darkness shall be as the noonday.

"And the Lord will give thee rest continually, and will fill thy soul with brightness, and deliver thy bones, and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a fountain of water whose waters shall not fail.

"And the places that have been desolate for ages shall be built in thee: thou shalt raise up the foundations of generation and generation: and thou shalt be called the repairer of the fences, turning the paths into rest.”

3 comments:

deanna said...

I'm simply inhaling your perfumy images and appreciating them. :o) I've learned from my daughter that a "gloomy" time such as Lent is an opportunity to prepare for feasting. And your scriptural quote makes me think of how miracles can happen through us: at the least expected times the afflicted and hungry are fed and blessed...Thanks for the meditation!

fresca said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the images, Deanna--I enjoyed letting them rise up in my mind.

Yes, the scripture here is wonderful--I didn't want to put the whole thing here, but as you know, Isaiah starts out by saying fasting in and of itself does nothing, one must perform acts of compassion ... miracles, as you say, through us. As Jesus later will echo--feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and so forth.
Good stuff.

Here's some of what precedes the verses I posted:

"Is not this rather the fast that I have chosen? loose the bands of wickedness, undo the bundles that oppress, let them that are broken go free, and break asunder every burden.

"Deal thy bread to the hungry, and bring the needy and the harbourless into thy house: when thou shalt see one naked, cover him, and despise not thy own flesh.

deanna said...

Okay, I'm going back to read the whole passage. Thanks!