Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Ash Wednesday

The monk's life should have about it at all times, the character of Lent. So says St. Benedict in Chapter 49 of his Rule for Monks. Pope John Paul, near the end of his life, made an analogous statement in a different context:
"I am convinced that the monastic experience constitutes the heart of Christian life, so much so that it can be proposed as a point of reference for all the baptized."

At the heart of Christian life is monasticism and at the heart of monasticism is Lent, the program of repenting and believing the Good News. So all Christians should have about themselves something of the monk, and every monk should have something of Lent about him.
By extension, we can say that every Christian's life should have a profoundly Lenten cast to it.

This is perhaps why I find it such a joyful season: it is an opportunity to live our faith anew, with the vigor that we would like to have at all times but for which we lack the strength. In any case, in this view, Lent is not a special season during which we are especially hard on ourselves for our faults, but is a focusing of the the thrust of our whole existence as a Church. The fact that it involves penance and mortification is a reminder that the world opposes this thrust. Following Christ inevitably means be at enmity with the world, warring with the flesh, being in exile like the heroes of Hebrews chapter 12, not to mention the example of Christ himself.

Dom Brendan preached an excellent homily this evening, but hid it from me before Grand Silence. I hope to post it tomorrow.

Peace to all who read these posts!

1 comment:

georgia said...

For the past 7-8 years I have grown increasingly aware that any changes I make in me during Lent should become permanent changes. So I appreciate your comments here.


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If I, who seem to be your right hand and am called Presbyter and seem to
preach the Word of God, If I do something against the discipline of the Church
and the Rule of the Gospel so that I become a scandal to you, The Church, then
may the whole Church, in unanimous resolve, cut me, its right hand, off, and
throw me away.

Origen of Alexandria
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