ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Of Dusty Wayfarers, Gloomy Hypocrites and the “Continuous Lent”

Updated on February 26, 2020

“The day is full of joy…the source of all sorrow is the illusion that of ourselves we are anything but dust.” ~ Thomas Merton

You may find this hard to believe ~ or perhaps you are in fact aware of it and in turn every bit as surprised as I am ~ but precisely two months ago to this very day was December 26th, the day after Christmas (and the Feast of the great Saint Stephen, Protomartyr of our Church, but I digress.). Yet here we are, poised to begin yet another Lenten Journey on this the day our Church celebrates Ash Wednesday. To quote the immortal Groucho Marx, “time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.”

Trust me, it sounds funny when he says it.

In Genesis 2:7, we learn that “the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” In his Ash Wednesday Homily delivered on February 28, 2001, Pope John Paul II explained that the traditional rite of distributing ashes reminds us of the transitory nature of earthly life: everything passes and is destined to die. “We are wayfarers in this world,” he said, “wayfarers who must never forget our true and final destination: Heaven. For though we are dust and destined to become dust, nevertheless not all will come to an end. Man, created in the image and likeness of God, is destined for eternal life. In dying on the Cross, Jesus opened the way for every human being.”

By changing our way of thinking to conform to this message of hope from Saint John Paul the Great, by fixing our eyes on Christ crucified and allowing the Gospel to govern our thoughts, words, choices and actions, we become much more that aimless wayfarers, rudderless wanderers of the earth destined for nothingness. We instead have a date with paradise. it is there that we will reside forever.

Today’s Gospel (Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18) reminds us of who we belong to, who we offer our prayers, fasting and almsgiving to. We are urged to make these offerings with joy, to steer clear of behaving like gloomy hypocrites, a term that is in and of itself redundant. Have you ever met a joyful hypocrite? “When you pray,” Jesus says “go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your father in secret.”

Lent is the “Inner Room” of the liturgical year. We must strive to make prayer a part of our true being, our very breathe even.

On Ash Wednesday, it is worthwhile to ponder Chapter 49 of the “Rule of Saint Benedict.” Although written for Monks, it has significance for all Christians. Here are a few of the highlights and key takeaways. Perhaps you can add one or two of these disciplined practices to your Lenten Repertoire:

“The life of a monk ought to be a continuous Lent. Since few, however, have the strength for this, we urge the entire community during these days of Lent to keep its manner of life most pure and to wash away in this holy season the negligences of other times. This we can do in a fitting manner by refusing to indulge evil habits and by devoting ourselves to prayer with tears, to reading, to compunction of heart and self-denial. During these days, therefore, we will add to the usual measure of our service something by way of private prayer and abstinence from food or drink, so that each of us will have something above the assigned measure to offer God of his own will with the joy of the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 1:6). In other words, let each one deny himself some food, drink, sleep, needless talking and idle jesting, and look forward to holy Easter with joy and spiritual longing.”

Let today be the day that you give up who you’ve been for who you can become. For “behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” ~ 2 Corinthians 6:2

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)