Ringwood Resident Reflects on Snowy Lent

Philip O’Shea, OFM Friar News

 As we near the end of Lent on Easter Sunday, a resident of the Province’s skilled nursing home reflects on how the changing seasons affect nature as well as people. He submitted this essay after the March 21 nor’easter that dropped a foot of snow on many parts of New Jersey the day after the official start of spring.

RINGWOOD, N.J. — Lent this year seems to have one word to describe it and that is snow. The weather makes it hard to concentrate on our Lenten journey toward Easter joy when spring seems so far away.

Easter is a spring feast – at least in the northern hemisphere – and its whole purpose is to provide a glimmer of hope that the difficulties of our life, including the weather, can be dealt with positively because our faith enables us to view all problems as solvable.

This year, Easter comes on April first and makes us realize that we are no April fools, but rather people with a vision enabling us to see beyond the present circumstances into a future where everything will be as it should be.

I urge you, as Easter approaches, to see in our present landscape many signs of spring and of the growth and development that this season presents.

It is so easy to see a place like Holy Name Friary in terms of the end rather than in terms of a beginning. But as the coming of spring heralds an escape from the snow, so the coming of Easter puts us in visible contact with what is now hidden but will soon burst forth before our very eyes. The very name of the place signifies the reality of hope and is our key to salvation.

Therefore, from this vast field of whiteness, I call forth the color green, not only for St. Patrick but also far more for the hope it signifies — that hope which is so marvelously expressed in the concept and reality of the resurrection.

As I throw you a snowball, I know that in this flight it will become a flower and we greet each other with “Happy Easter” merely because we are where we are.

— Fr. Philip, a native of Massachusetts, has written reflections on a variety of topics since moving in 2015 to Holy Name Friary in Ringwood. The most recent, published on Feb. 2, was about man’s behavior during a year that has been “traumatic, almost destructive.”

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