15 February 2010

Clean Monday

Father D said something in his homily yesterday that has really stuck with me. In talking about the Gospel from yesterday, he said the real meaning of the reading was summed up in the last verse of the text: "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Matt. VI:21) In the context of beginning Great Lent, he applied this to the fast in the following way:
"The whole purpose of Great Lent is to find where our heart is, where our being is encircled."
How profoundly true. As we begin to disconnect ourselves from the very earthly concern of meat and mead, we often find that the sins that beset us begin to be more keenly felt. Not just the actual deeds, necessarily, but the motivations for them suddenly become much more clearly revealed. At the same time that I'm trying to curb casually eating whatever, it comes to mind that my casualness with regard to my own sins is just as disturbing. As we attempt to disregard earthly things, we find that, all too often, that is where our treasure actually is. We still make the same sin as our first parents did in the Garden of Paradise, trying to derive our being from things that have no being in themselves, for only God is the source and author of being; how simple, and dreadful, a thing idolatry actually is.

How often it is that I am just a copy of a copy, deriving my being from things that are themselves mere reflections or created things themselves. I am not my books or my conversations, my schedules or my reflections, even my desires or my passions. Remembering that, and repenting of my stupidity in behaving as if it were true, is the point of the Great and Holy Fast. It reveals a lot about us, this attempt to be less of the world while still in the world; and it reveals, for this sinner, how much work is left to do.

Oh God, cleanse Thou me a sinner, and have mercy on me.+

3 comments:

desertseeker said...

"We still make the same sin as our first parents did in the Garden of Paradise, trying to derive our being from things that have no being in themselves, for only God is the source and author of being; how simple, and dreadful, a thing idolatry actually is."

There is so much here. I admit that I seek my being in other things, but I am so blind to it. It's so automatic; it's so "natural." I guess that's where the fast comes in--to break through my stupor and show me how I have been settling for cheap substitutes in place of the precious Pearl and Treasure.

"Oh God, cleanse Thou me a sinner, and have mercy on me.+"

Amen.

cmblake6 said...

Excellent thought. Your Father D is very intuitive.

The Hermit said...

Todd--it is natural and automatic to us; we are fallen just as they were. Not because the guilt of their sin was transmitted to us in some way, but because we live cosmological order which has been corrupted by this very sort of thinking. Our will is corrupt, and so we seek corruption to fill the void left by corruption. We are all addicts, every one of us. The Fast throws our addictions into sharp relief; it is our yearly intervention.

cmblake6--Father D is an exceptionally good priest, and I am very blessed and lucky to be his spiritual child. And thanks for the compliment on this.