Dear brothers and sisters,
At times Great Lent is compared to a voyage across the ocean or an immense sea. This brings to mind the passage of the people of Israel across the Red Sea as they fled from Pharoah, but also it recalls the Disciples caught in a small boat in the midst of a great storm.
What is there quaking in the depths of this vast sea? What is there gusting and tossing us about on the surface? Guilt; shameful memories; words that destroyed one’s soul and that of another as they left one’s mouth; tedious hours turning indictments against others over and over again in one’s mind; or the torturous hours spent indicting one’s self; either way, looking within and without, one often concludes that existence itself is graceless, that salvation is far away. We feel the immense quaking of sin from below, feel its surging gusts from above, and, like water, the surface of our heart is gravely troubled.
But no one ought to sail alone. No one ought to sail without the other disciples. And most importantly, no one ought to sail without the Lord Himself. In the great Ark that is the Body of Christ, let us intercede on one another’s behalf, that the Lord would arise to still the waters. Let us navigate the ocean of the fast bearing one another’s burdens in prayer. Let us set out with joy, in communion with one another. And let us set out in expectation – for God is with us even in great tribulation of soul – in expectation of the intimations of the Resurrection of our Lord that are discoverable everywhere. Let us make the sadness and soberness of Lent truly bright in its timbre, keeping the tree of the cross, that tree planted in a renewed paradise and bearing the fruit of life, that tree through which joy is returned to the whole world, as ever the focal point of our heart, soul, and mind.
With much love,