A great thought from Joan Chittister
Lent is an opportunity to look again at who we are, at where we’re going in life, at how we’re getting to where we say we want to go. The Chinese say, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” But the aimlessness, the confusion, the anomie that go with it, wear us down, wear us out.
Everybody needs to know that they have lived for something. Everyone has a responsibility to leave this world better than when they found it. Everyone needs to carry light into the darkness of the world around them so that others, too, may follow and find the way.
To go through life with no thought of responsibility for anything other than the self is to live like a leech off the riches of the world around us. To not ask the questions: What is my life goal? What am I contributing to this world? and hear the answer in the echo of the soul, is to be living a hollow life indeed.
Lent does not permit us the luxury of such banality. Lent ends in the shadow of the empty cross and in the sunrise of an empty tomb. There are great things to be done by each of us and each of them takes great effort, requires great struggle, will face great resistance. But the way to the empty tomb goes through the mount of the cross.
Lent is our time to prepare to carry the crosses of the world ourselves. The people around us are hungry; it is up to us to see that they are fed, whatever the cost to ourselves. Children around us are in danger on the streets; it is up to us to see that they are safe. The world is at the mercy of US foreign policy, US economic policy and US militarism; it is up to us to soften the hearts of our own government so that the rest of the world can live a life of dignity and pride.
We must “set our faces like flint,” let nothing deter the Jesus life in us, continue the journey from Galilee to Jerusalem, knowing that however our efforts end, the resurrection is surely on its way.
- A Radical Emptying: Lent (heraldmagazine.wordpress.com)
You know I have the virys when I use this picture.
I picked this up through my fax machine(I know this confesses my age) a few years ago. Then is was given as anonymous. If you know who really wrote it, let me know. I took the liberty of adding a few symptoms of my own. Please feel free to share it.
Some signs and symptoms of The Advent Virus:
- A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experiences.
- An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.
- A loss of interest in judging other people.
- A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.
- A loss of interest in conflict.
- A loss of the ability to worry. (This is a very serious symptom.)
- Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
- Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.
- Frequent attacks of smiling.
- An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen.
- An increased susceptibility to the love extended by others as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.
- A sudden rush of generosity that is very costly.
- A strong desire to be foolishly optimistic.
I get back to the Mystics and Monastics this week.
It had been a long three days. They had known the feeling of terror in the face of false accusations, the trauma of a mock trial, and the helplessness of standing by while a loved one was convicted of a crime he had not committed. Yet, this was only the backdrop for the deep agony of nameless, hopeless grief that would crash around them like a tidal wave when the one who had been son, brother, teacher, and savior was brutally killed. There is no making sense of such aching sorrow. The first days after such a tragedy found the women who were closest to Jesus in life wanting only to touch and prepare his body one last time in death. He had talked of resurrection. He had said that in three days he would rise. But it was not resurrection that was on the mind of those women. It was death. Imagine the moment of recognition when Jesus stood before them again. Imagine the elation of re-union. Imagine the radiant hope that followed those three days of pain. Imagine the faith that was kindled as a result of that “Easter” experience.
But the Easter story is not only an experience, an event. It is a way of life. The resurrection of Jesus created the hope in Christians that death is never the end — resurrection is. We not only look forward to an eternal future with the Holy One, we have the opportunity to experience Easter moments in the midst of our everyday lives. We know that death and sorrow stand nearby — whether it be physical death, the loss of a job, the loss of a relationship, the loss of a dream — but resurrection also waits to be noticed at the edges of our life. We have all known the wonder of a healing, a new job, a new love, a new dream being born out of the agony of hopelessness. Making Easter a way of life means that we are unwilling to settle for death in any of its forms. We are unwilling to give up hope and belief that new life is always being offered to us by heaven. We are unwilling to be ground down by grief when God’s goodness is extended to us. Making Easter a way of life means that we turn our eyes toward resurrection each and every day, searching for its signs, believing in its truth, living into its glory
I am not alone at all, I thought. I was never alone at all. And that, of course, is the message of Christmas. We are never alone. Not when the night is darkest, the wind coldest, the world seemingly most indifferent. For this is still the time God chooses.