First, Happy New Year. Did you know that up until not too terribly long ago (ARSH 1752), today, March 25, was the day that marked the New Year? Seem random? Only in a post-Christian culture. March 25 is the Feast of the Annunciation, and thus, it stands to reason that the day that God incarnated in the womb of the Virgin is the obvious day of “beginning”. Today is truly the beginning of our salvation. This year, it also falls on the day of the beginning of Our Lord’s Passion, which begins as it ends – in Triumph.
Many people STILL ask what the abbreviation “ARSH” that I use before dates means. It stands for:
“In the Year of the Reparation of Human Salvation.”
The reparation of human salvation began when The Word, the Second Person of the Triune Godhead, became flesh in the womb of the Virgin, and was consummated 33 years later. But we begin counting years from the beginning of our salvation, today, the INCARNATION, not the Passion and Resurrection.
I’d like to point out what the Virgin herself said of God and His Mercy at the Annunciation. She said, “And His mercy is from generation to generations, TO THEM THAT FEAR HIM.” (Luke 1: 50)
God’s mercy is infinite and its depths can not be plumbed. However, because mercy is, by definition, grief at the distress of evils experienced by another, both undeserved and deserved, if a person does not find the evil they are experiencing repugnant, but rather actively wills that the evil continue, refuses to acknowledge the evil they have committed as being evil, and even luxuriate in it and demand that others NOT grieve but rather ratify, celebrate and call “good” the evil, then that person is completely INELIGIBLE for mercy.
To not grieve at the sin of another, but rather ignore it, ratify it, celebrate it, or declare it “good” is itself grave sin, the diametrical opposite of Charity – indifference. To paint indifference as mercy is nothing less than diabolical.
If you are not sorry for your sin, if you are not ashamed, if you have no intention of trying to cease the evil, sinful activity, then God simply cannot extend His mercy to you, because He holds your free will sacred. Sins are those behavioral choices that, for lack of a better term, break God’s Heart.
And here is where the two events, the Annunciation and Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, tie together liturgically.
Today being Palm Sunday, we see in the Offertory verse, Psalm 68: 21. Some translations say, “My Heart hath expected reproach and misery….”, while others use:
“Insult has broken my heart, and I am weak; I looked for sympathy, but there was none; for comforters, and I found none. Rather they put gall in My food and in My thirst they gave Me vinegar to drink.”
Impropérium exspectávit cor meum et misériam: et sustínui, qui simul mecum contristarétur, et non fuit: consolántem me quæsívi, et non invéni: et dedérunt in escam meam fel, et in siti mea potavérunt me acéto.
The Law is simply God, in His unfathomable love for us, telling us explicitly what we must do and not do in order to not break His Heart. Filial Fear of the Lord is not wanting to break God’s Heart. People who knowingly sin with no sorrow, no guilt, no shame and no intention of stopping have no filial fear of God, and may even be guilty of the worst sin there is: Presuming upon His Mercy – that is, sinning boldly without compunction because “Christ HAS to forgive me, so I might as well do whatever I want. If He wants to hang on the Cross and take my sins, I’ll do what I damn-well please, and then hold Him to the contract.” This is the essence and pinnacle of Diabolically Narcissistic psychopathy.
If you would like to read further thoughts on this, I recommend THIS OUTSTANDING PIECE from Unam Sanctam, and you might also revisit my essays, “The One About FEAR OF THE LORD” and “We Should Be Ashamed.”
Here is the Offertory of Palm Sunday by Giovanni Georgi.
I hope this helps.
A blessed Holy Week to all.