Friday, April 22, 2011
Lent for Losers
This year, as in years past, I sought to rationalize my lack of effort by telling myself that because I was dealing with some difficult things in my life on a daily basis (my mother's fatal illness, my son's autistic behavior), I didn't need to impose other penances on myself (in other years, it was other difficult things: recurrent miscarriages, moving away from New York, or what have you). Tonight I went to Stations of the Cross for the first time this whole year. I also went to confession for the first time since the week before Christmas. And my confession was as trite as it possibly could have been: that I had had a bad Lent, and that it was through my own lack of effort, as well as through shifting the blame for my sinfulness onto other people and situations. This was particularly embarrassing, since I feel sincerely penitent concerning my grave sins, and have no trouble owning them. It's the small sins -- my daily fecklessness, pettiness, selfishness, and cruelty -- that I would deny with my dying breath if I could.
Tonight Otepoti (who, quite wonderfully, is visiting me from her home in what she calls the ass-end of the world) and I had a discussion about sin. We were talking, specifically, about whether committing bad acts made one essentially bad, while, conversely, committing good acts made one essentially good. Otepoti wisely observed that we are all essentially bad -- which dovetailed nicely with a realization I had the other day that we are, also, all essentially disabled. Only God is good. Only God is sound, only God is whole. And it is only -- only -- through His mercy that we are saved from our own neuroses, pettinesses, and egregiousness.
We are all losers. That is why, at the name of Jesus, every knee shall bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth. That is why we need Him. That is why we cling to Him, why we celebrate His death and resurrection. To paraphrase another wise woman, if it wasn't for Jesus, we'd all be bad.
A blessed Triduum and Happy Easter and much love to you all.