The Great Question

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“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26, NAB)

These are the words of Jesus to the disciples after Peter has protested Jesus prophecy of the cross. Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon, in The St. James Devotional Guide for Spring of this year, states that this is the question facing all of us, especially during the season of Lent.

As Fr. Reardon points out, we do not live in a soul-friendly time. With modern technology providing us all sorts of avenues for distraction, finding necessary the interior space and exterior quite is no small challenge. There are a good many people today who don’t even realize what it means to have an interior life, much less how to live one. On top of that, the traditional avenues available for soul stretching are becoming increasingly neglected. We no longer have the means to provide us the grist for our internal mills, so to speak, for what is being taught in schools these days hardly qualifies as truly enlightening. As Fr. Reardon says,

There was a time – nor was it so very long ago – when music, art, and literature served as normal paths in the discovery of the soul. In former days our teachers taught us the nature and structure of our souls by introducing us to the likes of Mozart, Raphael, and Jane Austen. It sounds old-fashioned to say such things, but there really is a reliable canon of standard texts that have served the test of time in the discovery of the soul, and only at great peril do we abandon that canon.

When I was a Presbyterian thinking of coming into the Church, one of the things I gave some real thought to was having to "give up" something for Lent, i.e., enduring a time of penance. Presbyterians really don't believe in that kind of thing. Now, it is one of the things that I am most grateful to the Church for since I find I need this time to regroup and rediscover exactly what my priorities should be. If it doesn't help me answer that question, it at least reminds me that I have to try.

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This page contains a single entry by Ron Moffat published on March 12, 2006 8:56 AM.

The Joy of Journals was the previous entry in this blog.

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