According to the English Catholic priest-cardinal John Henry Newman, “Growth is the only evidence of life.”
Life is then most apparent in the springtime with the bursting and budding of flowers, trees, and whistling of birds.
Winter precedes this era of new life. Is it not interesting that within nature newness of life springs forth from the cold, dark, dreariness of the death of winter?
Currently, we live in a time of transition— March, the chimeric month whereby it begins calmly like a lamb and ends ferociously like a lion or vice versa.
I do not think it is a coincidence that the Holy Spirit guided the Early Church, and sustained the ekklesia through the ages to place Lent during the lowest point (climatically speaking) of the calendar year.
Spring is an awakening. So is the turning of a soul to God. It was a soul asleep; it is a soul awake.
It is opening its eye on a new world, a new time, new thoughts, new possibilities, a blessed new life.
Spring is a manifestation of life. How full, how manifold is this new life in a converted soul.
Thoughts which came and went without God before, are now alive with God. Hear how the birds are singing in the actual woods!
That is nothing to the song of a soul on whom the spring of a new life has descended.
See how the verdure hastens to clothe the naked branches of the trees. That is nothing to the glory which decks the hitherto bare and dead powers of a converted soul.
See how the fields are aglow with flowers. That is nothing to the beauties of holiness in a regenerated soul.
Oh, the joy of spring! Oh, the better joys of conversion. Oh, the newness, the freshness, the deliciousness of the hum of the singing of birds. Oh, the more blessed newness, freshness, and deliciousness of a soul attuned by grace to God.
The summer which follows spring is not more truly a natural sequence of spring, than holiness, trust, love, righteousness, prayer, joy in the Holy Ghost are natural outcomes of the awakening we name conversion.
Why is this not always experienced? Because we will not believe the truth of God, and will not taste and see that God is good: because we refuse to be filled with the Spirit, and are slack to go in and possess the land.
Spring is a gateway. It is the gateway to the harvest — seed-time first, then harvest.
At the gateway of the year, a promise; at the end, fulfillment. A gateway.
A way into the King’s highway; a way to bread and wine, and milk and honey; a way to joy and wealth, and labour and the reward of labour.
Wordsworth speaks of “the harvest of a quiet eye.” But every new-born faculty in the life of the converted gathers a harvest for itself.
The life becomes fruitful; and the several powers of life bring forth fruit to God. In every form, and along every line by which it comes, we owe to Christ the renewal of life, which leads to these harvests of the soul.
His blood was the price He paid for our joys. The death that was ours, He took upon Himself, that we might become the heirs of the life that is His.
A Prayer in Spring
Robert Frost, 1874 – 1963
Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.
Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.
And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.
For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfill.