Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Dead Christ Supported by Two Angels, by Giovanni Bellini (c. 1480-1485)
Reflections from Henri Nouwen:
A Prayer for Lent
How often have I lived through these weeks without paying much attention to penance, fasting, and prayer? How often have I missed the spiritual fruits of the season without even being aware of it? But how can I ever really celebrate Easter without observing Lent? How can I rejoice fully in your Resurrection when I have avoided participating in your death?
Yes, Lord, I have to die—with you, through you, and in you—and thus become ready to recognize you when you appear to me in your Resurrection. There is so much in me that needs to die: false attachments, greed and anger, impatience and stinginess.... I see clearly now how little I have died with you, really gone your way and been faithful to it. O Lord, make this Lenten season different from the other ones. Let me find you again. Amen.
-- A Cry for Mercy: Prayers from the Genesee
…but the Resurrection means that…
One thing we know for sure about our God: Our God is a God of the living, not of the dead. God is life. God is love. God is beauty. God is goodness. God is truth. God doesn’t want us to die. God wants us to live. Our God, who loves us from eternity to eternity, wants to give us life for eternity.
When that life was interrupted by our unwillingness to give our full yes to God’s love, God sent Jesus to be with us and to say that great yes in our name and thus restore us to eternal life. So, let’s not be afraid of death. There is no cruel boss, or vengeful enemy, or cruel tyrant waiting to destroy us – only a loving, always forgiving God, eager to welcome us home.
-- Called to Life, Called to Love: Lenten Reflections