Christ in Gethsemane. Icon By Aidan Hart.
It’s true, you’ve seen a lot of bad things in life.
You’ve seen twin towers collapse like a wave receding into a lake of fire.
You’ve seen loved ones blue with dying in a hospital, and you’ve seen hospitals reduced to rubble and children picking through the mangled rebar and concrete looking for the limbs of their loved ones, knowing that your own country was responsible.
You’ve seen severed heads strewn about and held up by children.
You’ve seen pornography. Men and women with all the beauty of the human countenance rubbed out. What’s left? – Mass-produced bodies without personhood, reduced to twisted stumps of flesh; and you found it pleasurable, not repulsive.
It’s true, you’ve heard a lot of bad things in life, too.
Things that couldn’t be taken back.
Regrettably, you’ve heard yourself say things…
And what if I asked about your feelings?
We are damned by this, our meditation on evil memories, the liturgy of satan, a constant anamnesis of wicked things done, re-presenting them to the mind and heart, an unholy communion with shame and bondage.
Life is only in Communion with the Body and Blood of Christ, within a Liturgy that re-members the past in the light of the future, of that Day which comes, having no evening.
You’ve glimpsed this Day.
You’ve seen a lot of good things, too.
Beautiful, true things.
You’ve seen eyes that love you so dearly that you almost heard them say it; you’ve been embraced, standing before the icon of our Lord and his Mother, witnessing that the entire world has seen the God-Man.
You’ve been wrapped in the Mother of God’s protecting veil, and knew it; tasted the sweetness of Holy Communion; and heard hymns, or angels, or birds calling, and wept.
Any one of these good things, these real things, has more weight than a thousand memories of wicked things.
So bring them to mind, and ascend deeply in your heart, dwelling there.
There was a moment long ago, a moment you can’t remember, when you forgot you were looking at letters as you read, and you entered into meaning.
Ascend deeply in your heart with these thousands of memories, these icons of what is good, true, and beautiful; and, dwelling there, wait.
Perhaps there will come another moment, when the Lord gracefully wills, that you forget what you’re remembering and enter into life.