Great Lent: Triumphing Over Death

“‘Through the Cross, joy has come into all the world!’

This affirmation speaks simply and eloquently to the overriding concern of our generation: anxiety in the face of death. Our entire culture, it seems, from the distractions of creature comforts to the urge to clone ourselves, has been shaped – deformed – by the single – minded desire to deny, if not escape, the reality of death. For most people, death means the ultimate annihilation of their every achievement, their carefully cultivated self-image, their very existence. A voice whispers in their ear, ‘You are dust and to dust you shall return.’ Yet the promise of Easter, and its miracle, is the promise of life beyond death. Through the Cross of Christ, by virtue of His death and resurrection, our life has become a spiritual pilgrimage that leads us beyond the crisis of physical death to life without end. This pilgrimage is charted for us by the stages of Great Lent, with its ascetical practices and intensified prayer. Here, in this life, we engage in spiritual warfare so that one day we might enjoy everlasting peace in the kingdom of God. Here we dwell in exile, but with full knowledge that we are created and invited to partake forever of God’s own divine life.” (John Breck, God With Us: Critical Issues in Christian Life and Faith, pps. 175-175)