There is no greater disaster in the spiritual life than to be immersed in unreality, for life is maintained and nourished by our vital relation with realities outside and above us. When our life feeds on unreality, it must starve. It must therefore die. 3

What a great place to start my Lenten journey.

Lent begins with Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday is a profound invitation to live in reality. Honesty is the cornerstone of the Christian journey.

“Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.”

In I Corinthians 7:31 Paul states plainly that,

the present form of this world is passing away.

When I pretend there is any form of “form” that is not “passing away” I am living “immersed in unreality.” I am living in an illusion. I am choosing to govern my life by the fantasy that there is some permanence that can be achieved in this material realm.

The risk in “form” is that much “form” is beautiful and appealing. It is easy to become attached to form. It is tempting to cling to form seeking security and safety in the illusion that there is some form that will never let me down. When I attempt to establish a sense of lasting identity in form, I am choosing a life of insecurity and death.

Merton reminds me that the death that comes from clinging to form is not the death that brings life.

There is no greater misery than to mistake this fruitless death for the true, fruitful and sacrificial “death” by which we enter into life.

Jesus said,

‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. (Luke 9:23,24)

In my journey through Lent, I commit myself to the “sacrificial ‘death’ by which I enter into life.”

To what external forms am I clinging in my life? What am I hoping to achieve by clinging to these external forms?

In what external forms am I seeking to establish a secure sense of identity?