THE LOGIC OF LENT

Ash Wednesday today.

Purple Ash Wednesday

Whether we hear it in a church or we hear it from the movies,  we’re familiar with the phrase “ashes to ashes, dust to dust…”    Meaning our bodies are composed of the elements from the earth, i.e.  dust, mud, various minerals, etc.     Meaning, also,  when we die, our bodies will decompose back to its elements. . .

But there is a philosophical logic at work here.  We were made —  and never mind the exact “process” for now —  we were made from out of the “dust” of the earth, and after the willful Fall of Adam,  part of the consequences of our failure is that we go back into the earth, literally and materially.

From out of the earth;  then back into the earth.   

The same logic pertains to fasting and penance during this season of Lent.   Using Biblical language, the first act of prideful defiance manifested itself when Adam and Eve  “ate” from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.   This first great sin was accomplished by “eating.”    If we are to show our sincerity in repudiating prideful disobedience,   then we “oppose”  our sinful tendencies by fasting, which is the opposite act.

Indulging in our “eating” desires;  or refusing to give in to our personal desires.

Again, we have penance and mortifications (little self-denials):   we sin with the use of our physical bodies;  and so then we deny our bodily impulses, bringing our desires under control, freeing us, then, to listen to a higher calling from the One God-Most-High who calls us back.

Deciding to be a better person, deciding not to sin,  is a nice human thought.     But “resolve” itself accomplishes nothing.     Strength is needed , persistence, and manly courage.      There is stern, hard work involved to produce the Good Soil in which the Word that the Sower sows can take root in us.

 

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