Thursday, March 08, 2012

The 16th Day of Lent

Well, the streak had to be broken. I woke up yesterday and realized I had not the energy to write a blog post.

Alas. I haven't that much energy today, either.

Lazarus and Dives from the Codex Aureus of Echternach

Today's Gospel is taken from Luke and tells the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus. As you can see from the above, Lazarus is shut out from the rich man's life. Kept outside the front door, he was probably something of an annoyance, an inconvenience. Lazarus, upon his death, is drawn to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man, however, finds himself in fiery torment: the worldly pleasures he had enjoyed are now stripped from him, and he begs for Lazarus to "dip the tip of his finger and water and cool my tongue." No such succor is provided, though. As the rich man lived in this world - cut off from the poor and deaf to their cries - so shall he live for eternity.

Each Lenten season, we are enjoined to partake in prayer, almsgiving, and fasting. In stripping away the excesses of our lives, we come to know better just what it is that defines us as humans, as Christians. Beneath the technology and designer coffee beverages, below the growing bank account, in the silence of my heart when I come to prayer...when I have purged from myself all of the extras, all of the nonessentials, who am I? Am I one who closes the door to Lazarus or do I invite him to my table?


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