Thursday, March 02, 2006
We are now in Lent, a time of penitence and fasting, a time of hope and renewal. As I began to reflect on what Lent means for me, this year, in this time and place, I was compelled to read aloud, to myself, the Invitation to a Holy Lent, found on page 264-65 of the Book of Common Prayer. Sure, the priest reads it each Ash Wednesday, but sometimes, I'm only awake enough at that early service to vaguely understand someone is smearing something on my head. So, I reread it, almost in a Lectio Divina style. What really jumped out at me were the themes of restoration and reconciliation as being the end towards which our Lenten goals should be aimed. What is it in my life that prevents me from being restored to God? From being reconciled with my neighbors? That is what I needed to think about. And think about it I did. So, for my Lenten disciplines, I will not be drinking alcohol and I will be reading Dr. Aaron Lazare's book, On Apology. What will you be doing?
You know, your remarks towards the end about realizing what's keeping us from being reconciled to God make me think about something I read today while out to lunch. I was leafing through a collection of essays by a psychiatrist named Abraham Maslow, and he mentioned that, as a psychiatrist and a therapist he often found that his patients really had no idea what was happening inside them, and as a result he found that as he fought to help them overcome their confusion, his patients were able to see what steps needed to be taken to heal themselves. I wonder whether or not any of us can have much more than a notion of what keeps us and God apart - whether, in fact, we are far more likely to be incorrect in blindly changing our lifestyles for Lent. That is not to say Lent isn't a valuable thing - but rather, that perhaps it is all we as Christians can do to not add more pain to the world until God clears up our confusion about the way things really are and shows us where we can grow.
That said, I will be praying as much of the daily office as grad school allows and not sleeping very well at all until Easter rolls around.
"...and not sleeping very well at all until Easter rolls around."
So...you're giving up sleep for Lent? I suppose that would bring you closer to God...in a fairly old-school, hallucinatory way.