This time, 'round, though, I did not do much in that way. I tried to be a little less indulgent in general, sure, but there was no one pleasure I decided to forego.
This year, my Lenten discipline was rather in the positive direction (I choose to say, "positive" with scientific exactness): I decided I would do my best to take seriously - really to live by - the Ignatian maxim: "Think all the good you can!" It is a maxim that I quote often, but too rarely take to heart. So, I decided to make a go of it.
Now we are in Holy Week, and the Passion is in my mind (and on TV, for that matter): there is a scene in the Gibson film, in which Christ calls out, "Father, they know not what they do. (cf. Lk 23:34)," a scene I happened to see just last night. It struck me that the portrayal of Christ's pleading with the Father on behalf of his torturers and murderers was full of all the urgency that knowledge of the Father's love and omnipotence - therefore appreciation of the mortal peril in which Christ's torturers and murderers found themselves - would have entailed: as if Christ were begging God not to exact His vengeance on them, as though God were preparing to do just that. Then I remembered the following lines from the homily delivered by the man who would become Pope Benedict XVI, during the missa pro eligendo Romano pontifice:
The day of vindication and the year of favour converge in the Paschal Mystery, in the dead and Risen Christ. This is the vengeance of God: he himself suffers for us, in the person of his Son.So, as I consider taking up my cross, I wonder whether I could become God's vengeance by quiet and convicted advocacy for those who fulminate against me, who seem to hate reason and truth, who slander God the Father and malign Christ and His Holy Church. I certainly could not.
Then, I recall that Christ's pleading was for me: every sin I commit is a stripe on his body, a blow that drives the nail, a thorn that cuts his blessed brow.
He pleads for me.
He pleads for me.