Lent Thoughts – 3

Published Sat, 05/03/2022 by

“The man of God is a treasure hidden in a ruin” (Ibn al-‘Arabi)

I heard on the radio this morning the testimony of a Ukrainian woman hiding in a refuge in a city far away from her father.  Unable to make contact with him for some days, when she eventually got through on her mobile, his news was heart-breaking.  Sheltering under his house in a bunker he heard the noise of explosions.  Emerging eventually for air he found that his house – everything he had worked for – destroyed by bombing.  He was left with nothing but his life.

Our thoughts and prayers are very much with the suffering people of Ukraine.  They have lost so much.  We are also beginning to emerge into the realisation that, in our closely inter-connected world, the order of things as we knew it before has been shattered too.  The ramifications have hardly begun to be computed.  It is clear that at the least we must expect higher prices and shortages of many kinds. 

The inspiring resilience of the Ukrainians remind us that in the face of evil and disaster, faith and courage give human beings a dignity and inner strength they might not otherwise discover – together with a clarity about the things that really matter, that require complete commitment.  In that spirit of sober assessment of how things truly stand, the season of Lent begins with this prayer:

Grant, O Lord, that we may begin with holy fasting

this campaign of Christian service, 

so that, as we take up battle against spiritual evils, 

we may be armed with weapons of self-restraint.

(Collect for Ash Wednesday)

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