Guest Contributors,  Path of Death,  Series

Day 9: Remember That You Are Dust: Baptism and Memento Mori During Lent

Written by J Vincent Santini

Lent is a time to intentionally confront all the ways the first Adam continues to control
our lives, to carry these ways to the cross to let them be crucified with Jesus, and to
bury them in the tomb never to rise again, through this journey we enter into his death
and become new creatures in the Resurrection.1

Lent gives us a time to repent from things that keep us from God and to focus our attention
on the life, death, and Resurrection of Christ. Earthly things are wonderful when they are kept
in the right perspective as gifts from God, but all to often they distract us. All things God creates
are finite, contingent, and temporal. Therefore nothing in this world is the source of its own
existence, all things are transient like a shadow. We experience loss, change, deterioration,
failure, regret because of this.. “It [lent] calls on us to put to death the sin and the indifference
we have in our hearts toward God and our fellow persons.”2 Indifference caused by losing a
right perspective on other things not God and focusing on them instead of God.
Memento Mori (remember you are mortal) has a long history in the church. At the heart of
Christianity is the remembrance of a death that conquered death. A death that brings life to all
who also die with Him in baptism. As we identify more with Christ’s death during lent we learn
that it’s important to remember our own mortality, the need to put to death sin, and become
living sacrifices.
Lent causes us to remember our baptism Spirituality. Baptism is our initiation into the body
of Christ as we identify with His death, burial, and resurrection. Lent reveals the truth of
Memento Mori and leads us closer to embodying our baptism. “Fasting from food is a symbol of
the discipline it takes to turn away from our sin, prayer is the actual experience of turning to
God in dependence. Almsgiving is the symbol of the virtue we are taking on to replace our sin.”3
Remembering baptism plunges us into the death of Christ is manifested during lent through
fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. Don’t lose sight this Lent fellow Christians. Fast and pray as
Christ did in the wilderness. Be faithful to resist temptation and devote your strength to
spiritual things. Prepare for the greatest moment of all history: the conquering of death by
death and death by the resurrection!

 

1 Robert Webber Ancient-Future Time: Forming Spirituality through the Christian Year p.107
2 ibid p.100
3 Ibid p.113

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