In honor of the start of Western Lent on this Ash Wednesday (Orthodox Lent doesn’t start until March), I wrote a short reflection for Ethika Politika.
In ancient Egypt there lived an abbess named Sarah. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers reports of her that “for sixty years she lived on the bank of a river, and never looked down to see the water.”
As someone who loves all the sights of this world that God created good and beautiful (Genesis 1), it took me a long time to have some inkling why ancient Christians would find this story admirable. Did Sarah not appreciate the goodness of creation? Did she have an unhealthy, negative assessment of the material world?
We don’t know the answer. There is no more to the story. But I’ve come to see that there is another way of understanding it that gets at the heart of Lent.
Read more here.