Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sacrifice

"To live...in the spirit of Jesus Christ means to reach out from the midst of our pains and to let them be turned into joy by the love of him who came within our reach. We do not have to deny or avoid our loneliness, our hostilities and illusions. To the contrary: When we have the courage to let these realities come to our full attention, understand them and confess them, then they can slowly be converted into a solitude, hospitality and prayer. This does not imply that a mature spiritual life is a life in which our old lonely hostile self with all its illusions simply disappears and we live in complete serenity with a peaceful mind and a pure heart. Just as our adulthood shows the marks of the struggles of our youth, so our solitude bears the signs of lonely hours, our care for others reflects at time angry feelings and our prayer sometimes reveals the memory and the presence of many illusions." - Henri Nouwen, Reaching Out

Dudes. Lent is long. I'm not a very disciplined person anyways - I rarely make my bed, I never floss, and I can't stop saying "crap". I also have a track record of being successful at an endeavor initially, then getting cocky, slacking off, and ending up with a less-than-stellar performance. So. You know what's coming: I have been, uh, somewhat less disciplined with my fast this week. I've surfed, I've looked up stuff, I've had important things to take care of - all on the web.

For me, this is what Lent is really about: seeing my complete inability to save myself. I mean, my golly, if I can't stay off the internet for forty days, how do I keep myself from sin in the more general (and, to be realistic, more important) arenas? By the time Holy Week comes around, I always have this very present reminder of why I'm thankful for Christ's sacrifice on my behalf. It's more poignant to relive the events of Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday when you can see your own inability to give up your life, even on a small scale.

I've been trying to convince myself that Lent ends on Palm Sunday - I looked it up, and it does end on the Friday before Palm Sunday in the Eastern Orthodox tradition. However, I'm not Eastern Orthodox, and really, I'm just trying to have a reason to give up my discipline early. But considering what He did for my sake, I think I'll make it another week without the internet for His sake. It's a grace that I have a hard time accepting, this offer to pick myself up and try again with "no condemnation", but for me, that's what Lent's about. Sacrifice. And sin. And grace. In that order.

3 comments:

Julie McC. said...

The joy of forgiveness is that we can stumble, then try again. What's a week?

C. Michael Cox said...

Doh! Crap! And a reason for our Savior. Been there with you...done that.

MomCO3 said...

Dude. I resemble these remarks.
Can't wait to see you.
P.S. your squashes are huge-- some are working on 4 leaves.