This Lectio Divina (Philippians 2:5) yesterday was an unexpected voyage into the syncretic world of looking at Lent through the lenses of a totally different venue. In this case, the profile of a sinking boat came to mind. Here are some of my ideas on Lent as a time to bring the boat of your life into drydock and scrape off the barnacles, patch up the holes, and repaint. If you think Lent is a time of leisure, think again. It is a time when there is intense work on your part (my part) to clean up my act to prepare to put on the new robes of Faith at the Easter Vigil.
Original Sin, the condition into which we are born and rescued by Baptism, is like the water in which we float our boats. If we gather together, we do so as a flotilla, headed to the same destination (The Christ Principle). Salt water causes corrosion. My boat suffers from the effects of the Original Sin (the ocean( just by floating in the water. Barnacles can sometimes cover the hull, and my boat can carry an unwanted and unknown burden. Then there is the hole in the boat. As a human who lives on the sea of intelligent progression from the beginning to the end of time, my time on the waves is, so far, eighty-two years. I am lucky. The Church has a tradition of Lenten penance and reparation for sin that allows me to follow the readings daily at Eucharist from my false self to my true self. This is called conversio morae, or daily conversion of life. I must realize what is going on with original sin and what I must do to maintain my Faith experience of Baptism. Lent is my spiritual drydock, where I pull my boat out of the water to examine the hull and clean up my act. Not that I might have a lot of work to do, but imagine if I let this go each year without re-conversion and re-abandonment. The accumulation is horrific, and I won’t even notice if I don’t look. This looking is called Advent and Lent so that I can clean up my hull from the effects of the original sin (Galatians 5) and replace them with new paint, new habits, and newness of life in Christ Jesus.
Humans, by nature, seem to want to do what is always easy versus with is right. It takes work (carrying your cross each day) to scrape the weight of our baggage off of our hulls, to repaint it with the waters of Baptism once more. Each day, I must be aware of this need for conversion, each year, I must go into dry dock with the Liturgy of the Church and scrape off my barnacles (sins and failings) and repurpose my boat with fixing holes (Sacrament of Reconciliation) and repainting it with the Eucharist.
They drydock in vain and do not go to The Christ Principle as the shipyard of the soul. Christ is the contractor who provides the traditions in the Church to help individuals gain the strength (grace) to do the work of penance (scraping the hull) and renewal (Eucharist and Reconciliation). The shipyard is owned by the Father, who offers us this opportunity to come apart and rest our souls next to the heart of Christ and gain more and more awareness of the implications of our Baptismal commitment and covenant. The Holy Spirit provides the energy to clean up what human tools and detergents could never accomplish, making all things new in Christ Jesus. We approach the Resurrection each year with the baggage of the past year, the wear and tear of the original sin our resolve to love others as Christ loved us. We slough off what holds us back and put on new life (paint our hulls) with the healing powers of the Holy Spirit.
Penance is the daily cross of each of us who bears the sign of the cross on our foreheads. Lent is a liturgical season when ALL OF US do penance together and say, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
As we do each time we attend and receive the Eucharist, we lift up our hearts to the Father through, with, and in Jesus, with the power of the Holy Spirit so that glory is to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever. The God who is, who was, and who will come at the end of the ages.
Here are some things I do daily (not just in Lent) to ensure that my resolve to “have in me the mind of Christ Jesus,” will not corrode with the saltwater of the original sin.
Pray as you can, when you can.