The darkness is still with us, O Lord….You are still obscured by the veils of this world’s history, you are still destined not to be acknowledged in the scandal of your death on the cross…

But I, O hidden Lord of all things, boldly affirm my faith in you. In confessing you, I take my stand with you…If I make this avowal of faith, it must pierce the depths of my heart like a sword, I must bend my knee before you,…I must alter my life.

I have still to become a Christian.

–Karl Rahner, Prayers for Meditation



“I don’t get my allowance today because it’s Good Friday, right?” Jack asks me.

I look up from the pile of towels I’m folding. “No, you still get your allowance.”

“But it’s Good Friday.”

“Would you rather I wait and give it to you on Monday, after Easter?”

He says nothing. Then slowly, “Okay.”

I hesitate a moment, fold a washcloth, look at him again. “Or would you rather skip it altogether this week?”

He answers swift, sure. “I’d rather skip it altogether.”

I am silenced. He’s been saving for months for a Lego MindStorm, saving every penny he earns or finds. And today he is willingly forgoing his allowance.

I know what a huge sacrifice this is for him, my little Scrooge McDuck who weekly sits in his room and counts his money, bills and coins piled around him.

Jack’s willing and cheerful sacrifice convicts me.¬†And I wonder: what am I forgoing this day? I was not even willing to give up my morning cup of tea, though I felt that small sacrifice might be good for me, might make me mindful me on this day of Christ’s enormous sacrifice, might call me to prayer for all those who daily live at the foot of the cross, in the place of suffering.

In confessing Jesus, I must take my stand with Him. And on this day He stands – hangs – in the place of suffering. I do not want to stand in that place. I have tasted suffering, the merest morsel of it, and it is bitter. But if I make my avowal of faith – and I do; oh, I do – it must mean something, cost something, require something. It must alter my life.

In his own small way, my son is allowing the mystery of the cross to cost him something. What is it costing me?

Karl Rahner’s words have ricocheted inside my mind throughout this season of Lent. They come, once more, to mind, and my heart hurts, feeling their truth. They are my words, too, in this dark season, on this dark day.

I have still to become a Christian.