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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