Thursday, March 7, 2013

Lent 2013, XVI

XVI. Lent is an upward call to rest totally in God. I’m beginning to see it as a temporary partaking in the calling of those whose lives are Lenten lives. Priests, nuns, and religious all give up worldly goods, some more so than others, but all to an extent far surpassing even the holiest of lay people (not because the holiness of lay people is less, but because it follows a different route.) Lent is a time for me to share their calling, even if it is only for forty days, and only in a symbolic way. But to do that I have to understand why it is they give up all these good things. It is not (as I’ve already seen on much lower levels) because these things are bad. If someone gives up marriage because he despises it that is not an upward call but a sign of serious issues. Just like me with the passing bikini babe, I may not value her body less, so I must love her soul more, so on a much higher level a man called to the celibacy of the priesthood does not value marriage and family less. He simply values something else more. The fact of his still valuing the great and holy good of marriage is the sacrifice. So Lent calls me, not to give up something that has become an idol, (I should have been doing that the rest of the year) but to give up something that is good, ordered, and in its proper place. It calls me to look forward to the end of my life when, perforce, all of those goods will be stripped away, and I will stand before God naked, vulnerable and absolutely alone. Lent is a rehearsal for death.

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