Check out the animated show Bat out of Hell on Kickstarter!

Keeping the Dog Far Hence: A Lenten Reflection

IMG_1179

By Cecilia O’Brien

That corpse you planted last year in your garden,
Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year?
Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed?
Oh keep the Dog far hence, that’s friend to men,
Or with his nails he’ll dig it up again!

-Eliot

Waiting, waiting, waiting…

Lent arrives during the most appropriate season in our little patch of the world. Southwest Wisconsin at this time of year is a season of mud, dirty snow, patchy ice, fleeting sun and winds whispering promises of things to come. The days grow longer and the hours a bit slower as we wait, and wait, and wait for signs of spring.

The frozen ground begins to reveal the hidden sins of winter; animal waste, a plethora of bones dragged in by the dog, long lost mittens, buckets and plastic bags, and other sundry items that have fallen from our pockets or have been swept from our cars. It is ugly, the dirty snow, the brown earth, the garbage.

As is the season, so too is the state of our souls. Lent pulls back the blanket of complacency, revealing our imperfections, inconsistencies, and inadequacies. It lays bare the detritus from seasons past. Our souls are scarred with sins of gluttony, pride, selfishness, lust, anger…. The list goes on and on. It too is ugly, the blanket of complacency, the scars, the sins.

And yet hope lies in those winds of promise. Hope for new life, green pastures, gurgling streams, and the warming rays of the sun. Work must be done. The plastic and paper garbage must be secured lest the wind blows them in all directions once again.

The dog does not like to lose her many bones littering the lawn and field. We have tried burying them or tossing them over a distant ravine but she always manages to retrieve them, scattering them about, scars on our landscapes, obstacles in our paths. So the bones and garbage are collected, placed in garbage bags and sent to the county dump and recycling center to be crushed, incinerated, or reformed.

Our sins also have the tendency to make their way back to our soul’s landscape, blocking the way, obscuring the warming rays of the Son. They too must be collected and disposed, leaving our soul exposed to the light of grace.

The confessional is our soul’s county dump. We acknowledge our sins, gather them in a heap, and one by one feed them into the great incinerator of God’s mercy. Our soul’s soil lies exposed, to soak up the gift of grace through the sacraments.

So this Lent, as we wait and wait and wait, for the green of spring and the promise of resurrection, let’s gather up the garbage, the old bones, and dispense ourselves of them in the sacrament of penance and reconciliation.

Comments

  1. Matthew Lickona says:

    This is great.

    That photo is terrifying.

  2. Matthew Lickona says:

    FILED UNDER: SHE

  3. Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says:

    Uxorial Quadragesimalia? Thank you!

    This is the most point-by-point sustained analogy I can recall ever seeing. Striking, wise, and practical.

  4. Quin Finnegan says:

    Yikes … this has teeth!

  5. The wife tells me a slight emendation is in order: Our dog’s name is Gracie.

    Go figger.

    JOB

Speak Your Mind

*