The desire to focus on Lent as a time of being “clothed with love” leapt in me one evening at a gathering for Celtic spirituality studies. That night two of our members led us in a ceremony to honor the feast of St. Brigid (Feb. 1). They told stories about the legend of Brigid and how the Celts celebrated the protective, curative powers of her mantle.
The Celts would take a cloth at sunset to her feast and place it outside their home. That night Brigid would hear their prayers and bring healing and protection for all in the house.
They kept this cloth in the home until next year’s feast.
Then we were given a small lace cloth as a “mantle of Brigid” and asked to reflect on what protective and healing powers we needed in our lives. I felt myself needing to be clothed with loving-kindness. As the ceremony was nearing completion, the scripture from Colossians suddenly came to my mind. I took my “mantle of loving kindness” home with me that night and it became my Lenten practice that year.
Clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other … Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” — Colossians 3:12-14
Jesus, mentor and friend, your life and ministry were constantly clothed with love.
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I hold the image of your loving qualities and virtues close to me as I pray:
When my spiritual clothes are soiled with negativity and neglect, may I have the desire and energy to clean them. When my spiritual clothes droop, sag, and do not fit, may I have the wisdom and determination to let my words and actions fit my values and beliefs. When my spiritual clothes need changing, may I have the ability to make good decisions and the courage to follow through with the necessary changes. When my spiritual clothes are torn and need mending, may I make amends and be open to forgiveness and reconciliation. When my spiritual clothes are not accepted by others, may I have the self-affirmation to be my true self and not give in to the demands of others. When my spiritual clothes become thin and frayed, may I strengthen them with a garment of loving-kindness.
Jesus, transform all I am and all I do into the kind of love that permeated your presence. Clothe me with your love and grant me the grace to be truly kind and caring. May my spiritual clothes be spun from the gold of your goodness and last into eternity.
From Out of the Ordinary: Prayers, Poems, and Reflections for Every Season by Joyce Rupp
Prayer action suggestion:
With what do you need to clothe yourself this Lent? Choose a symbol that will represent your new “spiritual clothes” and put it in a visible place to help you remember your commitment.
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