01 March 2010

Msgr. Knox on Forty Days of Grace

Some thoughts of Msgr. Knox from one of his Lenten sermons that appeared in the London Times.
"Worldliness like yours," the preacher says, "would give God a perfectly good excuse for cutting you off, here and now, in your sins. What holds his hand is the appeal of Calvary. He is giving you a little more time to repent in; let us call it forty days. After that, if you remain impenitent, I cannot answer for what will happen."

Is the right recipe for Lent, then, to live as we would if we were certainly to die on Good Friday? No harm in the idea, but it misses the point. God's threats are conditional; when Jonah cried "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown," he meant, not that the city was doomed in any case but that only repentance could save it. In these days, when nations rather than individuals have become he units of history, perhaps we should think of sin abandoned as our hope of staving off the deluge.

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