Purple is the color of repentance in the church and used on the altar at two seasons of the year, Advent and Lent. I remember from my youth a priest who always said that Advent is a little Lent, a time to prepare yourself, look inside, and with God’s help become as clean and lovely as you can for the approach of Christmas or Easter. Judaism has a service of purification, sort of like taking a bath on Saturday night and washing your hair to be clean and pure. A bride beautifies herself for her bridegroom. So all is purple here at the Beguinage as we prepare for the coming of Easter. Every day at Mass, it seems the priest wears a new purple priestly robe. The altar has purple drapings and there are no flowers on the altar, bespeaking of the time of fasting in the wilderness of Jesus. There is the lone clump of branches with closed buds awaiting their moment. We sisters eat a bit less, pray and reflect a bit more… time to keep our minds on Jesus and what he would want us to do to bring us closer to him. It is a time to take stock and see where the journey is going and if corrections need be made. Now the earth seems to also know that it is Lent and purple is the appointed color. On my daily path across the courtyard, I watch the daily growth and flowering of more and more daffodils heralding the approaching Easter Day, but on one crossing I spied just off the path a PURPLE crocus amongst the daffodils. Aha this crocus knows that it is still Lent and there he is lovely and regal amongst the daffodils saying repent ye a little longer!
PS In the interim of this writing and posting, I have spied several more of Mr Crocus’ friends in lovely purple growing in and amongst daffodils.