Have you noticed the danger inherent in the phrase, “falling in love?” I like the love part, but not the “falling” part. I’ve taken some really bad spills as a kid and as an adult. Winding up bloody and bruised is no fun. Couldn’t there be a better term than “falling” to symbolize the beauty and excitement of romantic love?
The answer is ‘no’. Falling is exactly the imagery needed for this transcendent experience. Why? Because the mystery of love requires losing our balance. It requires relinquishing control. It demands the vulnerability opening our soul to another.
That is exactly what Lent is asking of us as well. In this season we are invited to intentionally relinquish the well-ordered life which our ego has established. We are summoned to be vulnerable to the reality of our own brokenness. We are asked to see anew our own failures and fall on our face because of it.
“Falling in Lent” is as mysterious as falling in love. Because here we can find ourselves overwhelmed by the presence of the One who loves us more than we will ever know. As we fall to the ground in the humility which comes from our fallen mortality the Lover of our soul picks us up and holds us closely.
Unfortunately, Lent can become a time which nurtures spiritual pride. If our focus is on what we have given up, or even on the fact that we have given something up, we would be better off indulging. Maybe that would humble us enough to fall in Lent.