Suffering is common to us all, but certainly not equally. Many times it intrudes randomly and with such cruelty, we wonder how a good God could allow it. Albert Camus (born this day in 1913) was a leading voice in the struggle for understanding, and he believed understanding was the best we could hope for. In his book The Absurd Man, he wrote: “the clerk in the post office is the equal of a conqueror if consciousness is common to them.” Today we call such a person “Woke.” It comes at a price.
Forever – is composed of Nows –
From Anno Dominies –
The liturgical year is approaching Lent and its days of introspection which proceed Easter. Joan Chittister observed that liturgical time is the arc that affixes the layers of life. It binds heaven and earth into one and the same rhythm. Rather than give ourselves totally to life as we know it here and now, liturgical time raises our sights above the dailiness of life to the essence of life.
The liturgical year, with its great traversal from life to death to life again, carries us from one pole of time to the other with a sense of purpose and progress. It makes us aware of the presence of the kind of time that is not time, that is not our understanding of time, that is beyond time.
To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up; A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing; A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away; A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak; A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace. What profit has the worker from that in which he labors? I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end. I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God. I know that whatever God does, It shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, And nothing taken from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him. That which is has already been, And what is to be has already been; And God requires an account of what is past.
Art: This artistic motif in the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth depicts the Trinity along with the apostles and all believers in Jesus gathering to spend eternity together.
Literature: Joan Chittister and Phyllis Tickle, The Liturgical Year: The Spiraling Adventure of the Spiritual Life—the Ancient Practices Series (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2010).<!–em