Lent and the gathering storm

Mar 7, 2021 by

by Peter Mullen, The Conservative Woman:

WHAT is it about this time of year: its peculiar sparseness and intensity? The light broadens but for a long time it seems to get no less cold. The winter has gone but the full green of summer is a hemisphere away. We can recall or imagine the countryside and swift clouds over a pastel landscape; daffodils and, if all goes well, new lambs. And think on the Lamb of God. Springtime is the promise of the eternal return. There is a tension in the English springtime and that is what prevails, what insists itself in this season of Lent. It is a time when even those who are not much given to these things turn, however temporarily, to spiritual wonderings. I feel this spiritual tension is inseparable from the atmosphere of springtime.

[…]  This season of Lent is the story of how Jesus is gradually deserted by everyone. Why? For which of his kindnesses? For which of those miracles of healing wrought by the divine compassion? The crowds desert him first. Then the large group of disciples. Then the inner circle of friends. Then even Peter – the rock on which he promised he would build his church – curses and swears at the barmaid,

I know not this man of whom ye speak! And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crows twice thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept.

Only the women do not forsake Jesus. Their faithfulness is a great mystery and an everlasting blessing which I will write to you about another day. But notice how Passiontide so often coincides with the Feast of the Annunciation of Mary, his Mother: that’s something for you to think about, to pray about. Mary’s vocation is to watch her Son being executed. By the cross she stands. Stabat Mater Dolorosa. This weeping woman who laid him in a manger also lays him in his tomb.

But what are we to make of him, this man, here in the bright springtime walking towards a criminal’s death?

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