There are a lot of weird words out there; and apparently, I don’t know how to define them. How about you? Take your shot at defining these six words:

  1. Borborygmus
  2. Gobemouche
  3. Entomophagy
  4. Hoddy-noddy
  5. Rawky
  6. Sternutator

See how you did:

  1. Borborygmus: This is a rumbling or gurgling noise in the intestines (Who knew it had a name and that the name was worse than the actual sound?)
  2. Gobemouche: A gullible or credulous listener (All it would take is to be called a gobemouche once, and I would never be a gullible or credulous listener again!)
  3. Entomophagy: The eating of insects, especially by people (I bet entomophagy causes borborygmus!)
  4. Hoddy-noddy: A foolish person (not to be confused with hotsy-totsy or hoity-toity!)
  5. Rawky: Foggy, damp and cold (It sounds awful because it is!)
  6. Sternutator: Something that causes sneezing (I think the Sternutator was in the last Terminator movie I saw).

Here’s what brought up this renewed interest in words. I was doing some research and discovered that the word “Lent” is traced etymologically to the Old English word, lencten, from which we have derived the word, “lengthen.” That’s right, it has no overtly religious meaning. Instead, it referred to the lengthening of days that we have each year at this time. In other words, it was a synonym for spring.  I thought for sure it would have a biblical background or some deep theological meaning; but as it turns out, it just means, “lengthen.” Lent is all about lengthening (as in days).

But even as Lent, that time for reflection and contemplation and self-examination, is now ending, let me ask you a few questions:

How can we lengthen our spiritual lives?

  • What are we doing to deepen our prayer lives?
  • What are we doing to enrich our reading of Scripture?
  • What are we doing to enhance our love for God?
  • What are we doing to strengthen to our compassion?

And since we are on the topic, what can we do to lengthen our love for others?

  • What are we doing to improve our listening?
  • What are we doing to give more time and focus to the people around us?
  • What are we doing to be more encouraging to others?
  • Where are we dying to our own needs and gladly giving gifts of support and care to others?
  • Where are we helping others to minimize the fear in their lives?

I think it is also important to ask, what we are doing to lengthen our love for God?

  • What are we doing to exhibit more thanksgiving in our lives?
  • What are we doing to enhance our personal worship?
  • What are we doing to slow down our lives so we can have time to commune with God?
  • What are we doing to delight ourselves in God?
  • How are we seeking to see God in the events and sights of our everyday lives?

And last, what are we doing to lengthen the work of the Spirit in our lives?

  • What are we doing to grow more patient?
  • What are we doing to be more forgiving?
  • What are we doing to find and express more joy in our lives?
  • What are we doing to be kinder and more gracious and giving?

Here’s what I know: much like getting in physical shape, it takes some thought and work to get into healthy spiritual shape. I also know that Holy Week is a good time to reflect on these things and to make new plans so that we can grow in grace. There are many ways to grow, but only a handful to derail our growth. And the most prominent of these “derailing” ways? Spiritual laziness (followed closely by apathy, a lack of attention, a lack of commitment and a pursuit of sin). So, here’s my advice: think about how you can lengthen your spiritual life and then pursue it with all your might.

You may want to pay me for all this great advice, but please don’t. Let’s just say I LENT it to you free of charge for you to use to your greatest advantage.

Blessings in this Holy Week!