“Lent is not tidy. Days grow longer (the word “Lent” comes from ‘”lengthen”), the ground thaws, and the next thing we know, everything is filthy. Our windows need washing, our temples need cleaning, the earth itself needs a good bath […] Winter doesn’t leave without blustery battles that push things over and mess things up and even break things. Lent, if we honestly face its fury, will leave the landscape littered with bits and pieces of ourselves.
Sometimes the only antidote is to take more of the poison. And so on our foreheads we rub dirt: Eden gone to ashes, the dustbin emptied of a winter’s worth of soot, last year’s leaves riddled with worms, the broken earth turned by the plough, the dry earth thirsty for water to make it clay of a new creation. And when Lent is done and the Passover arrives we’ll have water in abundance, water to bathe our feet and water to drown the demons and water to wash away the winter. And, as Bishop Ambrose reminds us, even if we forget to fill the font, there’ll be water in abundance in our tears.”
- Peter Mazar (photo with thanks Lúcás Ó Dobhailein)