Through RNS — We really feel our smallness when we take into account the universe, unutterably vast, dark and scattered.
Entire swaths of space are empty, although elsewhere galaxies drift via the void for eons of time just before colliding with every other. Some stars go nova and incinerate the planets orbiting them, expending themselves in an explosion so strong that our naked eyes can see it millions of light-years away. Cosmic dust coalesces and new stars are born, although black holes swallow light itself.
Right here on our tiny terrestrial orb, circling a minor sun in a low-rent neighborhood on the edge of the Milky Way, our telescopes watch as the cosmos accelerates away from us, expanding ever colder and far more distant. We are but a speck.
I think about that for you, as well, the final couple of weeks have been an particularly dark a single, rightsizing us when once again in the face of such tragedy. The massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand. The crash of the Ethiopian Airlines flight. And I do not know if this is taking place in your life, as well, but so a lot of folks I care about are struggling with points they do not deserve.
It has been awful. And, in a flash, their tragedy shines on a rent in the fabric of space and time that separates us from every other. In our discomfort, we are all the very same. And it is vital and apparent to say that something that could take place to them could take place to any of us.
We uncover that we need to confront our fragility, and indicators of our mortality are everywhere. As John Donne writes:
Death is in an old man’s door, he seems and tells him so, and death is at a young man’s back, and says nothing at all age is a sickness, and youth is an ambush and we need to have so a lot of physicians as may well make up a watch, and spy each inconvenience. There is scarce something that hath not killed somebody a hair, a feather hath accomplished it nay, that which is our finest antidote against it hath accomplished it the finest cordial hath been deadly poison.
And so, we search for sense and fairness in the rubble of shattered bodies that we see on tv or in our personal houses. We assume that due to the fact our discomfort is so private, it need to be personally meant, that there need to be some inherent significance to the suffering, some lesson the universe is attempting to teach us.
But, no. As well normally there is neither which means nor order nor justice in that chunk of cancerous tissue, that patch of ice, or piece of faulty wiring. Almost everything can just… take place.
Lent is the ideal time to sit with these darker truths. This is the time to reflect on our limitations and to remind ourselves that none of us is immune to the universe. We are all a single errant organ, limb, or joint away from losing that sense of freedom in our personal bodies, and even the fittest of us inhabits a faulty physique, created to put on out and perish. From dust we have been produced.
Appear, this is grim stuff. I get it. But this is the vital antidote to the poison of our culture’s myth of perfectibility. We turn into as well afraid to say the apparent: that points are not usually receiving improved. And this reality really should make us kinder to every other. As short-term creatures produced of the very same perishable material, we really should see in every other fellow pilgrims headed in the very same path, worthy of our concern, folks with whom we really should be far more patient, slower to anger, faster to enable.
How diverse are we actually when we take into account our lives and struggles and weaknesses?
Lent forces us to confront our disoriented mortality. And if you are currently there, if Lent is exactly where you reside, this is a season of stubborn hope. I guarantee. It is the season exactly where God sets a new horizon. A drama of ultimate significance is coming to a climax there is a diverse type of rent in the fabric of the universe, and light will flash via the darkness to illuminate what almost everything was all about and what almost everything will come to imply.
The light is coming. Our bodies are short-term, and so will be our suffering.