I had the pleasure of strolling with my wife through the neighborhood on our way to dinner. We marveled anew at the many and colorful old Victorian mansions now rendered more beautiful against a backdrop of spring bounty: plum trees, magnolias, and apple blossoms dashed throughout chartreuse buds and fully unfurling maple leaves, some green and some mahogany, with charming tulips and dainty daffodils populating the beds below. Best of all, the lilacs have bloomed, and their fragrance carried on light zephyrs this afternoon to my delighted nose.

I charted my course through the streets and avenues specifically noting the prevalence or lack of purple petals. Each time we spotted a shrub of lilacs, we rushed hand-in-hand to fill our nostrils with the heady perfume, minding the bumblebees and leaving them to their vital business. You can imagine then, my joy, at finding this verse assigned today in my St. Paul prayer book:

"Thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ and manifests through us the odor of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are the aroma of Christ for God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing." 2 Cor: 14-15

The aroma of lilacs is not overpowering, yet you cannot fail to sense it in the air each Spring. Growing up with the shrubs very thickly lining the front of our property, I do associate the scent with Mother's Day, May Crownings, and the onset of the season's peak.

In a similar way, we are not called to douse others with Parfum d'Christ, as if we were asperging the world of sin. Rather, we are called to be like the lilac shrub; people should form a strong association with us to the person of Christ we are trying to emulate. Encountering us should evoke in them a longing for the truth they yearn for or neglect, depending upon whether they are being saved or perishing.

Notice, it is not our place to determine which is which. We waft the fragrance of Christ to all noses, whoever happens to be strolling by. We should be consistent in what we show to others, never keeping some moments for virtue and taking the rest of the time off. In every place, God is revealing more of Himself in us, even - especially- when we are alone. Lilacs don't stop being fragrant because no passersby stop to breathe; no, they sweetly smell-- and God does the rest.

What must be our odor? Knowledge of Him. We must be redolent with Jesus, saturated in the Word and living out our sacramental promises, virtuously, simply, aromatically.

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