At the end of it all, what have I achieved?… After this week in a tent, alone to face God and myself, what have I learn? The first thing that comes to heart is that I’ve learnt how close to spiritual death I am, and how profoundly unprepared I am to face God.
I’ve learnt why the desert fathers, those angelic beings living in flesh and blood, died asking for more time to repent. I’ve learnt that my outwardly gestures of life are empty, only filled with the hallow substance of death. I’ve learnt that I fake life, while being dead; and I fake it brilliantly, even in front of my own conscience. I’ve learnt, and I pray never to forget, that I am death, and that only Christ’s descent into the death that I am can bring me to life.
How empty of meaning these words sound, even to me… ‘I am death, and You are Life’. And yet, how painfully real, how true they are in the most basic, material sense. I am death, and the awareness of it cuts like a knife through the fake realities I so carefully assembled for so many years – fake realities of myself, of the world, of God Himself.
At the end of it all, I’ve learnt that a Christian’s fight is a fight for Life, and has nothing to do with anything else. My fight is not concerned with any of the social issues that consume the world today; my fight is not about political or moral questions. My fight is to stay alive; my only aim, my absolute, final, consuming goal is to survive death.
The only path I know out of the basic reality of death is Christ and His power to resurrect. I leave today with one lesson learnt. There can only be one beginning to this path: repentance; a sort of repentance that frightens me, because it threatens to transform everything that I am, everything I have grown to know and love about myself.
Repentance: the beginning and the end. Everything else is fake. Everything else is wasteful. Everything else is a distraction from the real fight and the real aim: to overcome death, to remain alive.
Please forgive me. Please pray for me.