|CYCLONE YASI - 1,000 Kms Wide|
We stand in a difficult position – in the midst of great physical travail as a nation. As I write, the mud of the recent catastrophic floods is barely dry over much of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, and in New South Wales and Victoria, firefighters are battling bushfires. And then, and then…. off Far North Queensland, the terrible spectre of Cyclone “Yasi” steadily works its dreadful way across the sea toward the region of Cairns and Townsville. It threatens death and destruction we are told, on a scale not seen since Cyclone “Tracey” which destroyed Darwin. Well might Dorothea Mackellar in the poem “My Country” write about “her beauty and her terror “.
But we are approaching the commemoration of another, infinitely greater tragedy. We are given every opportunity to approach this coming commemoration with great care and all attention. And just as the residents of Far North Queensland are given ample opportunity to prepare and are doing so, we should take the opportunities offered to us as we approach the sacred commemoration of the Crucifixion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ for our salvation. Our loving holy mother the Church offers us the 40 days of Lent – commencing on 9th March 2011 with Ash Wednesday.
Oh, we’ve seen the Penitential Season of Lent bleached, gutted, diminished for some 40 years now – as we have been urged to shuck off “all that medieval stuff”. Queer thing that, most of the clerics who ran that effort have died, left the priesthood or self-indulgently “retired”- leaving us to clean up after them. But, as she has done for 2,000 years the Church has survived despite their worst efforts. Survived and still proposes to us, in continuity with her immemorial custom, the Penitential Season of Lent, so that we might dare to then approach the foot of the Cross “on which the Saviour of the world hung”
The floods, the bushfires and even the spectre of the giant cyclone are truly terrible – but in truth they pale, yes pale – before the prospect of GOD MADE MAN BEING BEATEN, SCOURGED AND CRUCIFIED because of His innocence of any wrong. AND ALL OF THIS FOR US AND OUR SALVATION. No wonder the Earth trembled, the “dead arose and appeared to many “and the veil of the Holy of Holies in the Temple was torn “from TOP to bottom”. The Old Covenant was brought to an end having been superseded by the New Covenant in Christ’s Blood.
So let us, each one, “get with the programme”as the Advertising people say and really make something of this Lent. Remember Christ’s own words about the efficacy of “Prayer and Fasting “in driving out Devils? That’s right – He didn’t exclusively concentrate on works of mercy. No – He also urged “prayer and fasting”. So we need to work on ourselves – diminish our selfishness (how “medieval”!) Look around us and we find a mightily self-indulgent society – not beyond causing 100,000 abortions a year, and ever more boldly espousing or tolerating any vice publicly recognized – can you doubt that there are Devils to be cast out?
Please keep your mind’s eye on the Man on the Cross. Pray, fast and do good works this Lent – for your sake, for the sake of our society and for Christ’s sake. Don’t let that great LOVE be treated perfunctorily.
COPYRIGHT TONY DIXON - First published in January, 2011 Issue of FOUNDATION