Well, we are half way through the first week of Lent. Have you reached the bitter end of you??!! Have you come to realize just how deep your supposed maturity in Christ really goes??!! I have. The realization of the power of the various forms that self-gratification still operative in my life is shocking. It is disillusioning. Wonderfully disillusioning. I am struggling and failing and succeeding and crying out. I am desiring to remain in this messy holy of holies — the pulsating point of heaven and hell — and soberly/painfully rejoice.
Wow, this salvation journey is messy business if we approach it from a different paradigm than learning how to be “well behaved.” If we approach via the paradigm of “right being,” the whole enterprise is different. The words are the same but we realize they mean something much (infinitely) deeper and significant.
We must press on, press in. Go the distance. In our weakness we cry out to God for grace to do the impossible because we realize and own the fact that it is, after all, impossible to live an authentically Christian life. And yet, it is exactly that impossible life we are invited and commanded to live. Do we know how to receive grace/mercy without leaving this space of “impossible possibility”?
Learning how to open ourselves to the powerful mercy of God in the moment/hour of our agony without making it possible somehow or giving up IS THE POINT. Stay in the garden of agony and cry out. Be weak and be strong in so doing. I reiterate: The great learning is, in practical terms, to receive the mercy so the impossible becomes possible without ceasing to be the impossible. St. Paul’s famous “I and yet not I.” We think we know how to do that. We think we have been doing that. And, to some degree, we have. However, it needs to be more than “to some degree.” It needs to be “all.” That is the edge.
Incline your ear, O LORD; answer me,
for I am afflicted and poor.
Keep my life, for I am devoted to you;
save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God.
Have mercy on me, O Lord,
for to you I call all the day.
Gladden the soul of your servant,
for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
abounding in kindness to all who call upon you.
Hearken, O LORD, to my prayer
and attend to the sound of my pleading.
And so, with the Psalmist and St. Paul and they with us, together, we “press on.”