Tuesday, March 30, 2010

ROBERT I think the only fair answer is, um . . . .

I think the only fair answer is, um, Yes and, um, No. An answer you will like and another you will like even better.
The long term answer is No, you cannot start Lent over again, or at least not this year. Whatever promises you could not keep or time you did not make sacred with your attentiveness, whatever offerings you did not give or oblations you could not make — the time has come and gone for those special Lenten devotions, as the Church calls such things. At least for this Lent.
‘There is only now,’ Thomas Merton writes.
The good news is that the Story will be told again, and you and I and all the rest of the communion of saints — those who have become saints already and those of us who are merely saints in the making, like the two of us and everyone still here in the kingdom that has already come — all of us will have a chance, God willing, to make a Lenten journey again next year.
Be not afraid of your failures in this season just past. Make your confession, go to sleep, and ‘rise again in the morning to serve the Lord,’ is what the old prayerbooks advise.
Remember, the life we live is not a contest to see if we can qualify to be with God some fine day, it is a gift we are given so that we might come to know God on this day we have been given.

The short term answer, — the Yes — is that the most significant starting over moment in the history of the universe, for all time past and all time to come, will be celebrated at Easter. God willing, you and I will be among the celebrants.
If it helps you to call it a reset, feel free to do so.
I prefer to think of it as time, long past time really, as Merton writes, to set aside our ‘awful solemnity and join in the general dance.’
Thanks be to God, either way — Thanks be to God.


emily said...

Anticipating rebirth and resurrection with you, Robert. Perfect timing for me to read this today. Thank you for taking the time to write it and share it here.


catd said...

I fall into your question of can I do Lent over. It's nice to hear it discussed. This Lenten season has been a tough one for me. We have been unemployed for 6 months now. Sure, that allows for lots of free time but for some reason this kind of free time is very non-productive when it comes to my spirituality. Worry seems to overwhelm any progress. I am thankful that God doesn't really measure my devotion based on what I have given up for Lent.
And I am already looking forward to next year.
Thanks for your words.

robert benson and ben stroup said...

I, too, am glad that God is not measuring my devotion by my Lenten practice, or probably anything for that matter. Thank you for reading, and for being in touch. Blessings to you and your house come this Easter Day.

Namaste —

R. Benson