Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I have never personally been an observer of the season of Lent, but I've decided to give it a try this year. If you read my blog or talk to me regularly, you're probably already aware of my recent captivation with symbols of death and rebirth. In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, the season is known as the "Bright Sadness," (as this passage describes beautifully).

The main point here is an interiorization. It is so difficult for the Western world to interiorize. In the West we always want to see and touch and weigh and measure. But with these things of the spirit, each one of us must undertake that long journey inward in which he or she will meet the Triune God who dwells within us.

It takes kenosis, a stripping of oneself, a totality of surrender. It takes a total interiorization, in which we recollect all our fantastically scattered thoughts. Because symbolically speaking, we must be naked and follow a naked Christ. We can’t take anything with us except faith, hope, and love.

This means giving up our manipulating of other people. It means giving up thinking that one’s ideas are the center of the universe. It means having a simplicity, a childlikeness, like that which Christ said we have to have to enter heaven.

“Lord, give me the heart of a child and the awesome courage to live it out as an adult.” These are the dispositions with which to enter the bright sadness of Lent.

So, for forty days, from tomorrow until Easter, I am dedicating my thoughts and meditations to this journey and, as a symbol and a reminder, am swearing off chocolate, candy, and desserts in all forms. It is by no means a large gesture, but I think the point is to have a small but regular reminder of the process. I figure, I consume sweets a couple times a day. So I think the mild pangs of sugar cravings and subsequent self-denial will serve as a good reminder of this journey.

I do hope and believe this will be a meaningful experience.


NAlton said...

Um, you mentioned Eastern Orthodox, but their Lent starts next Monday. Roman Catholic Lent starts tomorrow. I'm just curious why the difference? I celebrate the Roman Catholic one (I'm giving up Cafe Rio Pork...and swearing...this will be the hardest Lent yet. Caffeine = easy. (even when it included chocolate)) I was just curious... We can help each other stay strong... :D Good luck, and happy Lenting!

The Dancing Newt said...

Yeah I'm following the Roman Catholic calendar, but I just liked that imagery and that passage (although my understanding of the divine is not necessarily aligned with the Triune).

Beth said...

Interiorization is such a fascinating concept. Have you ever read House Like A Lotus, by Madeleine L'engle? You know I love her, and her writing. Maybe consider reading this for what it has to say about a naked Christ and interiorization as some closure to your Lenten practice.