Hear our voice, O Lord, according to your faithful love.
Beginning Lent (3)
Third part of a four-part extract from "Luminous Sorrow: in preparation for Lent" a sermon by S. Bulgakov.
But what is true repentance? What does it presuppose and include?
It is, first of all, discernment, knowledge of the boundary between good and evil, between darkness and light: "And the light shineth in darkness" (John 1:5). The blackness of darkness without light is invisible and intangible.
In order to repent of evil, it is necessary to see good and, more than that, to love it, to feel its power, to believe in it. True repentance is born of spiritual power, not of weakness.
Least of all does true repentance resemble a tearful and cowardly self-love, the selfish feeling experienced by the slave who fears his master's whip. True repentance is born of our love for God and for humanity; it is born of our love for ourselves as the Image of God.
Even if repentance is connected with the sense of death, this is only in the sense that the memory of death is an unceasing verification of the image of temporality in the face of eternity, not a denial of the significance of temporality. One cannot spiritually flee death, seeking to forget about life, but one should also not live in the name of death, for that would be a blasphemy against life. Death too can and must be joyous, like the spiritual spring of Lent, for it too is life. Christ united life and death in His Incarnation by trampling death by death.
Lord Jesus Christ, you took upon yourself the form a servant, humbling yourself and accepting death. May we also be ready take upon ourselves the life of humility and service that with you we may attain to the power of an endless life.
Urmas Sisask (Estonia, 1960- ). Dominus Vobiscum. Hymn XVII from Gloria Patri. Eesti Projekt Chamber Choir, dir. Anne-Liis Treimann.
May God our Redeemer show us compassion and love. Amen.