[Friar Pete, O.F.A.'s latest reflection based on Franciscan Virtues through the Year. Friar Pete serves at St. Michael's Hermitage, Regina, SK.]
It’s not a coincidence that the virtue of Eagerness should fall on the same week as the beginning of Lent.
And eagerness is definitely a quality that most gardeners need. It’s only the 14th of February but already I’m hauling out the seed catalogues and thinking about what I’m going to order this year, what I’m going to start indoors this year, and how I can do my planting inside in such a way that the seedlings won’t all croak. See, when we bought the house I figured that the east exposure in the kitchen would be good for starting seeds. And most plants do OK there–once I figured out that the vent under the table was drying things out very quickly, and baking what wasn’t getting watered. Last year I lost all my seedlings because I was too eager to start without really thinking things through.
Eagerness as a virtue is different from that impulse to dive into something and just not think about the repercussions. In my personal life, there’s an eagerness that is ever present to see my boyfriend, to spend time with him, to enjoy his company and allow our relationship to grow. It’s a desire to encounter Dan as a complete being, and watch as my own being is reflected back while I’m with him.
The same kind of experience happens when I enter into a prayer experience. When I’m praying the office, or doing Centering Prayer, there’s a calm connection that happens that makes me eager to want to re-enter into those times. It’s a strange sort of thing really, a kind of intimate relationship with something so big that it’s hard to fully describe or understand.
Lent being what Lent is, a time of penance and connection, a time of ‘entering into the wilderness’ as Jesus did after His baptism, there is an eagerness to enjoy that feast of the spirit that engages when you fast. The challenge does come–its not simply eagerly choosing to do something and enter into that experience without issue. The challenge is to allow the eagerness of the entering-in to overcome the feelings of anxiety, of frustration.
Eagerness is ecstasy that has not fully blossomed; its a seed that needs nurturing, that contains the joy of knowing a flower will eventually blossom.
Our blog offers information on our monthly liturgical services, special events, news, and donation requests for our church and missions. It will also contain homilies for reading or printing.