Today is Great and Holy Wednesday, in the Byzantine Rite:
Is it a heavier burden to stay a path of righteousness, and to be ready and able in any hour to answer God for all our deeds and all our words and thoughts, and for the content of our hearts, or to depend upon the sanctifying Blood of our Savior?
It’s not rhetorical. I mean to ask this, an honest question.
Which is harder? It’s not so moving, perhaps, for us to read in our far-removed age that
Mary cried on the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet clean with her tears.
Now, try imagining you, doing that.
What heartache could so compel you?
What psychic agony would it take to so abrogate your ego, your pride, your dignity and your cool?
What personal hell must you already be frying in in order to feel moved – without the benefit of having already read your own account in the Gospels, because this is today, spontaneous and apparently uncertain – to grovel and worship literally at the feet of a controversial wonder-worker and prophet, branded a seditionist, and enemy-of-the-state, a social outlier to say the least?
For my part, I take up the easy yoke and light burden that is the way of righteousness from time to time, and every time so far, I consistently fail.
So I find myself groveling and weeping with Mary, terrified about my own unworthiness and helpless but for the grace of God.
I know that feeling. I don’t wish it on you.
But it was for that sincere repentance that Christ forgave, blessed, and ultimately glorified Mary, and raised her brother from death. So, when we find ourselves barren of fruit, rising from bed at the groom’s call but without a light to see, knowing that we have not deserved the price of our repentance and baptism by our great human weakness, it’s that agony of the heart and soul that merit’s Christ’s compassionate love.
Only for that, then, can I wish it upon you after all. That I might keep the commandments and the faith, and bear fruit according to God’s will pray for me. And I shall pray for you.
But for which shall I pray – the burden of righteousness, or the sorrow of repentance?
– Your Servant in Christ,