Friday, March 8, 2013

Lent 2013, XVII

XVII. But just as death has deep beauty and meaning only because of the death and resurrection of our Blessed Lord, so Lent has meaning only because of the resurrection. Ordinary sacrifice is simply good sense for this world, regardless of how much supernatural help I need to accomplish it due to my fallen nature. But the extraordinary sacrifice of Lent should be a looking ahead to the resurrection. Without the resurrection, Lent is meaningless. It is a rehearsal for death, to be sure, but death is important to us primarily because it is the path to resurrection. If we were not looking forward to being filled, it would make no sense to empty ourselves. This is another partaking in the calling of those who give up the goods of this world for the sake of the Kingdom. The celibate religious gives up marriage because he or she looks forward to the day when they “neither marry, nor are given in marriage.” Marriage itself, as great as it is, will one day pass away (whether that means that it will simply vanish or be sublimed into a new reality is another question. I think the second is the more likely, but that’s neither here nor there.) They accept on faith that marriage between one man and one woman is only a sign, and that the ultimate source of joy is the marriage of the Trinity with the Human Person. In a bold leaping forward they choose (or are chosen) to go straight to the source, bypassing signs and symbols, and receive God here and now as their all in all. In a shadow of this, Lent calls me to set aside some good thing which is really only a shadow of God (and that is the only reason I love it in the first place) and spend that time and effort in searching for God as directly and as intimately as I can.

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