Since Pascal is imprinting so well on my mind, I thought a little blogging would be allowed.
This passage from Father Alexander Men (photo at left), a priest in the Russian Orthodox Church, calls for an attentiveness during Lent. Lent, while a Christian tradition, is really quite a philosophical time. It is an opportunity to put first things first and to meditate on the true order of things as well as the shortness of our lives. Pascal decried philosophies that ignore the question of death and immortality, "for that is the most important question for knowing how we should live." Our culture's allergy to death (that is, to thinking about our own personal deaths) can make this uncomfortable, but contemplating death is not morbid if it changes how we live.
Here is Father Men's homily from a funeral:
"As a traveler, approaching a river after a long journey, senses how cool the water will be, so you and I are getting nearer to the great time of purification. We should greet every Lent as if it were the last in our lives, so that we stop and think--if only for a short while, tearing ourselves away from the perpetual bustle and rush that constitutes our lives. Look how we live nowadays: how bitter and exhausted we are, what an endless hurry we are in--we're making such an effort, trying to make progress. But all of it comes to an end earlier than we realize. Here among us we already have someone who has left his abode--his body--and perhaps before we reach [the end of] Lent, one of us might be lying here, like him, in the middle of the church.
"Let us think for a while about how we can open up our souls to the Lord, how we can start to live a real life. So what kind of life is a 'real life'? It is a life of love--for God and men--a life in which what is most important comes first and is not pushed aside by trivialities. When we stand before God, it is as though we are standing before a bright light, which shows up our unworthiness, our meanness, and our weakness. before the face of God we are revealed as destitute. For the Lord is love, which he pours out on us. How can we thank him, other than by returning that love? But, we ourselves do not possess it: we only see, in the light of the Divine Glory, how unworthy of it we are."
Thanks to MAGNIFICAT for the passage.