28 Nov 2021

RONAN SCULLY: Spring renewal and rebirth

RONAN SCULLY: Spring renewal and rebirth

Ronan Scully

It has been a long worrisome year since last Spring when we first went into lockdown because of the dreadful Coronavirus and where we faced so many challenges and heartbreakingly lost so many loved ones. Yet, there is something about the hope of Spring that awake's a feeling of optimistic expectation. 

Spring awakens and enlivens us in a way no other season can. We remember what new life looks like, we remember what possibilities can be just around the corner, and we remember that beauty is all around us if we only look and become aware. At this time of year, we tend to want to clean our house and rid ourselves of anything that reminds us of the long, cold winter and this year especially anything that reminds us of the Coronavirus and lockdowns. We want to open our windows to let in the clean, fresh air.

We want to toss out anything that clutters our house. We usually refer to this as spring cleaning. We want to get rid of anything that reminds us of the cold, dark months of winter and the many months of lockdowns so we can allow in the beauty of spring. But just as we have spring cleaning, we can also use this time as one of spiritual spring cleaning. It is a time to clear out our spiritual house, so we become receptive to God’s love and bring joy and happiness into our lives. Our spiritual house is our body and mind in which our soul resides. We must free ourselves of the clutter of mind and matter so that God's Holy Spirit can flow in. 

Creating Hope

I think God created Hope when he created Spring. Crocuses, daffodils, and tulips wait expectantly just under the surface of a thin blanket of soil and earth. The trees, stoic and bare, whisper of new life and greener more vibrant days. Rebirth is patient, but ready to announce itself at any moment. No matter how used we have become to the dead of winter we may have found ourselves in, especially during this time of worry because of the Coronavirus, the alertness of spring does come. 

Spring offers each of us the obvious opportunity to reflect on the renewal of life that is all around us. Maybe this Spring we might reflect more on what is really important in life to us as the past year of the dreaded Coronavirus has made us all have a good look at ourselves and what life we would really like to be living. The Earth radiates new growth and we as its inhabitants are part of this magical paradigm but we need to be better carer's of it! The start of spring is always exciting.

New life is all around, and there’s that faint promise of summer in the air and the real hope of getting out of lockdown. Spring is here and it is a time of life reflections, change, birds singing brightly in the air, rebirth, renewal, refocusing and growth. It is also an occasion to reflect into the oasis of one’s beautiful soul, mind and heart, and carry out a spiritual loving spring cleaning with lots of self reflection. It is a time to energise one’s aspirations, hopes, goals and dreams, to fulfil one’s purpose, mission and vision for one's life. Spring is a time of the dawning of new light, new life, new spirit, new birth, new beginnings, new momentum and new hope. It is a time of waiting, of expectation, a time of preparing new ground, planting new plants, nurturing new seedlings, tending new shoots, protecting new buds. It is a time of dreaming new dreams, thinking new thoughts, making new plans, growing new goals and welcoming a new hope. It is a time of holding tight the fragile, embracing the vulnerable, nurturing the young, protecting the old, saving those on the edges of our communities and a time to recommit and begin again to the real work of our lives that of caring for one another as we ourselves would like to be cared for and caring for our environment and nature all around us on our daily journey through life. 

For me Spring is a  resurrection time in our lives so to speak and please God it will lead to the end of this awful Coronavirus and onwards onto new hope of better days to come.  It makes me think about the many blessings that spring showers upon us such as the freshness in the air, wonderful breezes, singing of the birds, lots of growth, baby animals of all kinds emerging, fresh water flowing, trees, plants and flowers budding and starting to blossom, and of course the oncoming of Easter.

Spring always brings a sense of renewal and changes. It is a time to look around and look within and reflect on all that has passed and to consider what may come. Spring cleaning does not have to be limited to cleaning around the home. Although cleaning out the closets and cleaning the house and cleaning or redecorating the garden a bit more than usual may be a good idea and a healthy one at that! This spring, in addition to the typical spring cleaning, I have decided to rid myself of some thoughts and behaviours that no longer help me or cause me to feel down and so I am looking at a spiritual form of spring cleaning as well.

Spring Cleaning

Spring is the time of year when many people take on “spring cleaning” projects inside and outside their homes and offices. But what about inside your heart and inside your soul? Just as there are seasons in the world around us, so there are in our interior life, St. Teresa of Avila wisely observed. We cannot expect it to be otherwise.

Since we put so much time and effort into cleaning our homes, offices and outer self at this spring time of the year, shouldn’t we also do some spiritual spring cleaning of our heart, soul and inner self especially during these worrying times of the Coronavirus? There comes a time when we must clean out the wardrobes of our life so that we may have room for items that will enhance our life. Let’s search the wardrobes of our lives and make a trip to the rubbish bin.

Throw away any hatred that may be lurking there and be sure to toss out jealousy, bad attitudes, dishonesty, complaints and hypocrisy. Before you finish, throw away that grudge you’ve been carrying against someone. Make room to add love, honesty, forgiveness and kindness and not to mention thankfulness for all God’s blessings. Go on and make room for reverence and respect for God from whom all good gifts come. Stand back and look: Your life’s wardrobe is looking better, isn’t it? Take a moment today to spring clean your heart and soul. Ask God to come in and if He finds anything else that should not be there, take it out so that you can live a life more loving and caring.

Try and change those behaviours that have not helped you to achieve your goals in life. Look at replacing old ways of thinking and reflecting, that hold you back, with new thoughts that will inspire you and help you to enjoy this journey called life. If something in your life is not fulfilling you as it should be, maybe set limits or determine if it is time to move on and discover things that do fulfil you. Also consider if you can whether your thoughts and behaviours are a reflection of the real you and always especially at Springtime which is a good time to reflect on things try to renew and refresh your goals and purpose to look towards a better future and give your life some momentum again. Spring is the perfect time to effect a positive change in our lives because the ever-lengthening days of warmth and light and all of nature’s responses to them are powerful cues for new growth. Spring urges us to plant some, grow some and bloom some.

Spring brings us new hope that one day those of us searching for the light at the end of our tunnel will see the light shine through claiming victory over our burdens and worries and hopefully over this awful Coronavirus. Somehow the battle feels less overwhelming when the spring warmth of the sun shines through after the winter hardness, restrictions and lockdowns in our lives.  It’s as though God is telling us he is here to help us find the courage to keep our spirits upbeat and feel stronger and more hopeful. It will hopefully bring us our resurrection moment!!

Spring renewal and rebirth

Recently a dear beautiful family member Aunty Terry whom I loved very much travelled on and out of her body into spirit. She had lived in the scheme of things a short enough but contented life. Aunty Terry touched many people with her genuineness, gentleness, passion, caring, compassion, insights and love. Aunty Terry inspired many especially her family, friends and neighbours.

So, I find myself reflecting on how much easier it is to celebrate the beginning of an embodied life, but have difficulty celebrating a life well lived. I grieve for my loss, and my many loved ones, family and friends who have gone before Aunty Terry and  how it’s impacting me on  my life's journey. Why can I not be happy for the freed spirit that is no longer restrained by the limitations of a physical body? The prayerful meditation practice of breath, posture and stillness, allows us to integrate the grief but it also creates the space to feel the joy that their embodied spirit brought to the world. It’s an opportunity to motivate us to create meaning out of the loss of a special person. The deeper our prayer life becomes, the more we can find space in our heart, mind and spirit to allow the gifts to get passed on through our actions.

There’s an opportunity to find and experience the ‘oneness’ with all things and how love is the fabric of the Universe and the fabric that connects us all. The lessons learned through our prayer life and meditation practice help us to realize that the bonds of love are unbreakable if we keep them safe in our hearts and souls.  So, from this prayerful perspective, Spring is no longer a season but a state of always being open to the newness of another breath, another minute, another hour, another day, another year.

The Spirit’s transition from body to spirit is perhaps a living Spring! Spring is a reminder that we enter into the cycle of birth, death, rebirth in many ways during our lifetime.  For me there is no more invigorating time of the year than Spring. Let me share with you this lovely prayer poem called, "The Earth" which is always a good teacher — and especially in spring. "Earth teach me stillness as the grasses are stilled with light. Earth teach me suffering as old stones suffer with memory. Earth teach me humility as blossoms are humble with beginning. Earth teach me caring as the mother who secures her young. Earth teach me courage as the tree which stands all alone. Earth teach me limitation as the ant which crawls on the ground. Earth teach me freedom as the eagle which soars in the sky. Earth teach me resignation as the leaves which die in the fall. Earth teach me regeneration as the seed which rises in the spring. Earth teach me to forget myself as melted snow forgets its life. Earth teach me to remember kindness as dry fields weep with rain."

Thought for the week

As your thought for the week, I pray that as the signs and the magic of spring begin to show themselves all around us and that you will remember that each new day is like a cleared field ready for planting. Your thoughts, attitudes, and actions are the seeds you plant. Plant three rows of peas: Peace of mind, Peace of heart, Peace of soul. Plant four rows of squash: Squash gossip, Squash indifference, Squash grumbling, Squash selfishness. Plant four rows of lettuce: Lettuce be faithful, Lettuce be kind, Lettuce be obedient, Lettuce really love one another. No garden should be without turnips: Turnip for meetings, Turnip for service, Turnip to help one another. Water freely with patience and cultivate love. There is much fruit for your garden. Because you reap what you sow. To conclude our garden. We must have thyme: Thyme for God, Thyme for study, Thyme for prayer, Thyme for loved ones, Thyme for each other, Thyme for friends.

This Spring and always, choose only the seeds that will produce a bountiful harvest of love, joy, health, kindness, care, prosperity, and peace. And may you give thanksgiving not only for the springtime around you, but also for the springtime within you. Why don't you this Spring, clean out hate and replace it with love. Clean out pride and replace it with humility. Clean out anger and replace it with self control. Clean out unbelief and replace it with faith. Clean out revenge, and replace it with forgiveness. Clean out complaining and replace it with praise. Clean out evil thoughts and replace them with pure thoughts. Clean out gossip and replace it with encouragement. Clean out laziness and replace it with caring. May the blessing of the God of Hope, the Bringer of Springtime, the Brightener of Seasons, be upon me as I set forth today. Laughter of the running hours be mine, love be the circler of my soul, and with the leave of lightness, may I come home in joy. So Touch the earth with gentleness. Touch the earth with love. Touch her with a future, by the way you live today. God has given us the power to create the world anew; If we touch the earth together me and you. The time is here, the time is now, we can change things. Give Earth your dream of harmony, she is waiting; Waiting for love, waiting for you, waiting for me. Show the Earth you care about her future. Melt the walls of hate and fear that keep us apart; Believe we can live together as friends of the Earth.

So be the reason, be the hope for others to believe; That Earth is meant for beauty, goodness and peace. And that our God of love is God of the Earth’s one family. The cycle of life continues just as the cycle of the seasons continue. Through the good and the bad the flow of the river will remain. It’s all connected. So as we leap into spring, let’s move forward together with a sense of gratitude for the world around us; let’s stop letting the little things knock us down and let’s begin to spread a little bit more love! Let’s embrace the change of the season that is upon us and use it to help build us up, not tear us down. It is through our thoughts we control our own destiny.  So this spring, let us take on the challenge of spiritual spring cleaning, so we can declutter our hearts and minds, and let the fresh air of God’s love in to nourish our soul. As we do so, we will not only be helping ourselves, but also become an example for all around us. It is an activity which will help us all year round and for all times to come.  We all matter. Embrace life. Enjoy the seasons. Enjoy Spring everyone!!

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