The Mirror of Passiontide, the Example of Easter

The Mirror of Passiontide, the Example of Easter

From the great mosaic of the liturgy of The Act of Consecration of Man, that tile which is the Passiontide epistle places before us a mirror in which we are shown grave truths about our human nature. Are the opening words of the epistle not merciless? Speaking directly to each human being, saying that the place of her heart is empty? It goes on, showing no signs of leniency informing us of our loss of the spirit that would awaken us. After this, and perhaps after our own moment of self-knowledge concerning the words of the epistle, it continues in a different tone oriented toward the future. It introduces us to our longing for the spirit’s awakening, to our wanting, derived from the loss of spirit. Finally, it enkindles in us a mournful awaiting of the spirit which we have been made painfully aware, is bereft from our hearts.

In the Passiontide prayer a unique name is given to the Savior. He is called the spirit of the worlds afar and of the earth near…It is a prayer prayed to the Savior from the lips of the greatest champion the human being has — he who petitions the lord to not look upon the sting of evil in the human heart, but instead, to look upon her weakness as a tempting power over her. It seems this angelic champion of the human spirit is standing right next to us, and in his example of praying, we join in the prayer with a powerful confession that describes how our own selves lie on the ground lamenting.  This prayer culminates with the human being’s plea —to the newly named Savior: to raise our selves up.

What leads us to truly lament?

Easter will come and place before us a living example of a future endowed with potential which is humankind’s to achieve. How to set out upon this path? The way begins with understanding, which scarcely counts as half of a step that is then made whole through the treading, whereby revelations of the spirit become embodied. The path is not straight, but spirals. The festivals of the year— they imprint us with the rhythms of soul that, in cycles bring us forward upon the course he blazed. The experience of the true, living spirit in our hearts is at this time impermanent. It is a condition requiring the earnest mirror of Passiontide, in order to give us a chance of apprehending Easter.

Hugh Thornton

“The Mirror” by George Tooker, 1974