It is Lent, the liturgical season once again, and I am drawn to think about my mortality, my corruption of life and its companion, conversio morae. Other than realizing that my life is more like a yo-yo in my struggle to have in me the mind of Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5) rather than a merry-go-round, I fix my gaze on the one thing that can bring me peace of mind and heart, The Christ Principle.
I had this thought about the mythical sirens of ancient lore, that half-bird, half-female femme fatal that lured those not prepared to their doom by their wailing and seductive, beautiful singing. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Siren-Greek-mythology Myths are the deepest penetrations of what it means to be human, usually using anthropomorphic representations of those behaviors that sustain an authentic core truth and those that hinder it. The Greeks had their pantheon of gods and goddesses, while the Romans had their family of gods and demi-gods. All of this was to explain human nature and what it means to be good or evil in terms people could appreciate.
It is no coincidence that The Christ Principle entered into human history at just the right time to make sense of all of these attempts to seek a relationship with a power beyond themselves. Christ taught us how to walk in the minefield of the false promises and dead-ends that the world has to offer. I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life says Christ.
Humans, by nature, are not intrinsically evil in their minds and hearts but can be tempted by Satan and the Debaucheries to choose what seems to satisfy the human heart, but will actually harm them. That name sounds like a rock band that plays cool and seductive music like the sires of myth, singing, “No one can tell you what to do! Follow the way of the world and kick out all this god garbage. Being human means power, riches, no limits to your sexual and emotional appetites, no rules to keep you from becoming all you can be.”
The irony is I am the center of the universe, not the physical or mental ones, but the spiritual one. What exists does so through me as I live my seventy or eighty years seek to find the solutions to the Divine Equation and thus allow me to know how all things fit together. The six components of the Divine Equation come from a higher power than me, so the answers are also from that higher nature.
Jesus became human (Philippians 2:5-12) just so that I could say YES to the invitation of God to be an adopted son of the Father and thus heir to the kingdom of heaven. This is the kingdom of heaven while I live on earth. This kingdom has two parts, one of which is my time on earth, during which I must struggle with the effects of the corruption of matter and mind. It begins when I am accepted by God as a son (daughter) and receive the indelible mark of the cross on my soul. The second kingdom of heaven happens when I die; life is neither changed nor ended nor lived with Jesus forever.
Satan, full of jealousy and hatred for God, seeks to keep me from saying YES to God. The band plays music that the world wants to hear, at odds with the cross, and is destructive of the spirit within each of us.
Each day, my Lay Cistercian promises I made upon my final profession are tested against the seemingly beautiful and fulfilling music of the world. This music has no power to lift me up and sustain my incorruptibility. Only the power of the Holy Spirit as I sit in stillness next to the heart of Christ can mute the sounds that the Debaucheries (Sirens) make while I live in the world. I try to take up my cross each day. Some days are better than others. I know that God loves each one of us despite our faults and failures. Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery, “Who is there who condemns you? Neither will I condemn you. God, and sin no more.” Jesus doesn’t condemn us for our failures but invites us to repent of our sins and sin no more. Jesus makes all things new within and without.
Remember, Human, you are dust, and into dust, you shall return. –Ash Wednesday sacramental