#ashtag. yes, that’s a thing.
Often Lent seems complicated to me. I fret for days over what to do, what to focus on, what to give up. This year it was simple, for once! Family. This is the Lent of our Family. Remembering that we’re important. That our time together is important. Our prayer, our home, our selves. I feel that the six of us have been pulled to all edges of the earth over the past few months, and so I am looking forward to these next 6 weeks of Lent, to help us slow down and appreciate each other, to take care of each other and our home, and to remember that we are indeed the domestic church.
As I mentioned in my post yesterday, Caryll Houselander is always an inspiration to me. I named this blog after a quote from one of her books. I found this passage today, and it pulled together my thoughts about this Lenten time much better than I ever could. I just want us, myself mostly, to remember who we are. To be who we are created to be. This requires simplicity, humility and reality. To let go of pretense, of wondering how we ‘appear’ to others. Remembering, as a priest once reminded us a few Ash Wednesdays back that Lent helps us remember that “we are creatures and God is God”. This is a passage from her book, Wood of the Cradle, Wood of the Cross:
One immediate result of accepting ourselves as we are — which is becoming simple — is that we stop striving to reach a goal that means becoming something the world admires, but which is not really worthwhile. Instead, we realize the things that really do contribute to our happiness, and work for those. For example, we cease to want to be rich, successful or popular, and want instead the things that satisfy our deeper instincts: to be at home, to make things with our hands, to have time to see and wonder at the beauty of the earth, to love and to be loved. To work for real human happiness implies unworldliness, the kind of unworldliness that is usually a characteristic of artists, who — in spite of glaring faults — prefer to be poor, so that they may be able to make things of real beauty as they conceive it, rather than to suit themselves to the tastes and standards of the world.
To accept oneself as one is; to accept life as it is: these are the two basic elements of childhood’s simplicity and humility. But it is one thing to say this and another to do it. What is involved? First of all, it involves the abandoning of all unreality in ourselves. But even granted that we have the courage to face ourselves and to root out every trace of pretense, how shall we then tolerate the emptiness, the insignificance, that we built up our elaborate pretense to cover?
The answer is simple. If we are afraid to know ourselves for what we are, it is because we have not the least idea of what trial is. It is because we have not the least idea of the miracle of life-giving love that we are. There is no pretense that can approach the wonder of the truth about us, no unreality that comes anywhere near the reality.
We are “other Christs.” Our destiny is to live the Christ-life: to bring Christ’s life into the world; to increase Christ’s love in the world; to give Christ’s peace to the world.
What contemptible pygmies our most exalted ambitions and fantasies are beside this, the reality!
The acceptance of life as it is must teach us trust and humility. This is because every real experience of life is an experience of God. Every experience of God makes us realize our littleness, our need, our nothingness, but at the same time the miracle of Christ in us. Not only are we one of God’s creatures — which is in itself a guarantee of His eternal creating love — but we are also His Christ, His only Son, the sole object of His whole love. These two facts balance the scales of trust: our nothingness and our allness.
If, in the light of this knowledge, we give ourselves unreservedly to life, every phase of it, every experience in it will lead us back to the inward heaven of spiritual childhood. “All the way to Heaven is Heaven,” says St. Catherine of Siena, and this is a thousand times true of the heaven of spiritual childhood, because it means becoming, not any child, but the Christ Child who is the life and the heaven of the soul.
I’ll post a winner to my Fat Tuesday Giveaway later today! I was so glad to share these sacramental prep resources with you!