Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And when the Lord smelled the pleasing odor, the Lord said in his heart, ‘I will never again curse the ground because of humankind, for the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth; nor will I ever again destroy every living creature as I have done. As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.’” (Gen 8: 20-22)

The changeability of temporal reality, like changes in temperature, or in the times of day and night, is a blessing. One thing does not change, and that is, my obligation to tame and re-direct the “inclination of the human heart,” my inclination that is “evil from youth.” But amidst this constant, unchangeing obligation, of spiritual struggle, I have the relief and pleasant distraction of uncontrollable changes in physical reality, like night turning to day. Why is this a relief? Because I don’t have to worry about that which I don’t control.

I’ll note the same about changes in our liturgical “seasons.” The cycles of fasts and feasts offer me changes of pace, amidst one unchanging, constant objective of working on my heart, on aligning it to God. In a word I am glad it’s Lent, just like I will be glad when it’s over. I thank God today for bringing His changes into my life, in ways I happily do not control.


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