Stillness, Truth and Lent Stillness, Truth and Lent

There are those who would say that “right and wrong” are not the same for everyone. According to this way of thinking if the young woman down the street is going to have an abortion, I have no right to “judge her” (which also means not saying anything.) If the young man at the high school is dealing drugs, I may think it is wrong, but I don’t have to DO anything. If the state introduces a new Sex Education Program presenting “two moms, two dads”, surely they know what they are doing…who am I to say?

The premise of the modern world is “I’m OK, you’re OK…Live and let live.” But such a hands off, morality-free way of living isn’t working, is it? The statistics say that 82% of our Catholic young people now think that “morality is relative to circumstances.” That means I can determine “right and wrong” for myself. What a great opening this has been to justify co-habitation because “everyone is doing it”, abortion to get rid of the “inconvenience of babies”, and the active promotion of homosexual behavior.

Diadochus of Photice was a bishop of the 5th century who wrote One Hundred Chapters on Spiritual Perfection! Sounding a call from centuries past he tells us to wake-up—this is not the time to be lulled into errors of reasoning! He wrote that the light of “true knowledge” makes it possible to discern, without error, the difference between good and evil. We can know the Truth and it is universal and readily available. But the trick to uncovering it, he says, is to “maintain stillness of mind, even in the midst of our struggles. We shall then be able to distinguish between the different types of thought that come to us.” He makes an awesome comparison…”A tranquil sea allows the fisherman to gaze right to the depths. No fish can hide there…[But] the stormy sea…becomes murky when it is agitated by the winds. The very depths that it revealed in its placidness, the sea now hides.”

It is the “winds” of the world that sweep over us and muddle our thinking. We need clarity now more than ever. But remember, just beneath the surface, the “fish” are there and in capturing them we will be filled and satisfied. The fish is a symbol of faith and Truth. To digest this substance is to be comforted and safe within the realm of truth.

To calm the stormy seas of moral chaos, we need LENT. In her wisdom the Church has seen that we need this period of forty days as a retreat from the ordinary. When we discipline the appetites and refuse to give in to every excuse for sin (even though the excuses are readily available), then the waters calm. The fish are evident. We can paddle towards Home in Heaven.

Copyright 2013 Judith Costello