Stewardship and the Annual Spring Cleaning

When spring rain lets up, and May brings long hours of brilliant sunshine,
something stirs within: the desire to tackle that dust we suddenly notice in
places we seldom look. And those windows smeared with winter’s muck? And
that disorganized closet? There’s a reason our grandmothers called it “spring
housecleaning.” The season brings an almost physical desire to get out the mop.
Surprisingly, for the Christian steward, this can actually be a spiritual
impulse. There’s something intrinsically renewing and revitalizing about
cleaning. Everything done with a prayerful heart can lead us closer to God, and
cleaning, often a solitary and contemplative task, can definitely include prayer.
You might plan to begin your cleaning with prayer, and play music that lifts your
spirit as you work.

Start with a closet. Open your heart to what it tells you about how blessed
you are materially. But observe the consumerism a closet can reveal. As you
examine each item of apparel, remember and thank God for the graces of the
occasion: a wedding, a graduation, a vacation. Enjoy “shopping” in your own
closet for items you’ve forgotten about. Pare down what you no longer need
or what you feel called to share. Wash, mend, iron and select a place where
your items may find a good home. Many cities have refugee closets, and many
nonprofits have thrift stores which support them. St. Vincent de Paul shops serve
the poor with inexpensive used items. Pray for those with whom you are about
to share.

Resolve to put your newly reorganized items to work for you and not rush
out to buy more.

And those windows? Does anything lift the spirit like a clean window after
a long winter? As you polish those panes of glass, pray about where your own
inner life could use a cleaning. Perhaps you don’t make it to the Sacrament of
Reconciliation as often as you’d like. Use your quiet window cleaning time
to examine the graces and challenges of your life. Thank God for the many
blessings and be honest about failings.

And that ubiquitous dust? It promises to return, afflicts the rich and the
poor. It’s a sign of our universal connection to the earth and the environment, a
reminder of our own mortality. Even the dust we clean can be lifted up to God
with a thank you from a steward’s grateful heart.