The whole of our life, is to actualize the image of God, and achieving the divine likeness that humanity was created in. Every day should be a movement towards this; yet we find that the cares of our daily lives, and the concerns for this and that, slowly mask and cover who we are in the eyes of God.
The Church gives us the tools of increased fasting, prayer, almsgiving, and good works during this season of Great Lent, to help peel away those masks of security and comfort from our lives, revealing our blessed nature. Yet these elements are not automatic guarantees of this happening. We don’t engage in these struggles to gain favor by checking off one task or the other; we engage in these struggles to identify with a God who identifies with our broken humanity.
He is a God who empties Himself “and being found in human form He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a Cross”. (Phil 2:7-9). And this is the point: that by the Cross, the Lord breaks down the division between humanity and God, not as some act of payment or punishment on our behalf, but out of love. The Lord perfects our nature, and shares it with us in His Resurrection.
As we enter into the middle of the fast, the Church presents for consideration this Cross of Christ, to remind us of the centrality of the Cross in our life. This must be the beginning of our journey and the destination of our journey-to be truly alive. This Cross of our Lord reminds us that our fasting is not simply a labour independent of God, but a labour that shows the love of Jesus Christ who out of love surrender even His will to the Father, for our sake.
We can go through our whole life fasting, serving, reading, working for the good of others. But unless we, like our gracious Lord, surrender our will, our passions, our security, our life on the Cross out of love for God and neighbour, nothing we could ever do (however good it might be) would help us see that it is God upon the Cross, and not some mortal victim. And sadly we would not see the love poured out for us, and live the life offered to us.