Compromise and Betrayal

As time goes by and the fire of the first week of Lent gradually dies out, things concerning our life in the world regain their strength and take over our days once again, while things concerning our life in Christ become increasingly less clear and muddy. It’s like a dark cloud which has showed up of nowhere and has covered something that was – for that one glorious week – so very obvious and precious to our hearts.

For me, the first week of Lent is so utterly abnormal, so completely out of this world, as if another form of life has taken over the planet and it has imposed its own rhythm and laws and values. My usual sense of time is replaced by the time of this alien world; my perception of my own physical needs – food, sleep, tiredness – adjusts itself to the different criteria of this alien life.

I abandon myself to this new life, and I feel almost enslaved by this new world. I lose control over my life and my habits; my small comforts disappear; the poles of my life – those things that identify time as MY time, MY life – are taken down. When one fully sinks into the first week of Lent, one abandons everything and joins in this new life.

It’s as if an alien aircraft has landed and we all just decided to drop our lives and embark this flying object, letting it take us wherever it goes, because we have faith that its final destination is the Resurrection. This fire is easier for me to accept than the slow burn of the following weeks. This sort of open madness makes more sense to me than having to intertwine my usual life and the life on this alien flying object.

After the first week of Lent, things get gradually diluted, my ability to hold on to the wonderfully strange new world of the first week dies out and I risk to end up compromising. And compromise is just a beautiful word for betrayal.

7 responses

    • It is strange, isn’t it? It’s almost as if we go back to the time before Christ resurrected and experience the sense of loss and despair of that world. To live in a world without Christ – can you even imagine the horror?…

  • It is lovely to hear from you, Fr. Serafim. A few of my thoughts….I find that the way the Church alternates between times of a lot of structure, services, and intense focus with times of apparent lessening of these things is given to me so that I begin to mature. Without freedom and my need to practice choosing to maintain the disciplines without the external structure, I cannot be more than a superficial Christian. The restoration of my will is critical in becoming authentic. The conflicts that arise and my struggle to respond is the transformative arena, the possibility of crying out to Christ, the way I can see my passions, and the way of dying again and again. My apparent betrayals become real fodder for growth in my ability to actively engage in choosing Christ.

  • You are right, baby steps is all we can hope for. I do wonder, though, what percentage of the compromises we make is actually needed, and what percentage is simply self-justification. In any case, I find it more useful and spiritually safe to blame myself for these compromises, rather than look for ways to justify them. On the other hand, one shouldn’t despair, either – it’s very much a balancing act, and it differs from person to person.

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