For some reason I've been thinking today about slavery. I have no idea what errant train of thought brought it to mind, but I was thinking about the sort of slavery that one usually thinks of when one hears the word, e.g. slavery in the American South or in Pharaoh's Egypt, and how it was different than the sort of slavery which is described in detail in the Old Testament in which a person who has no means sells himself into slavery, but in which there are very strict parameters limiting the power of the master. Then I was thinking about how we who work for other people, are similar to the latter. I could say more about all this, but it's not really the subject of this post. It's just the train of thought that brought me to the subject of the post.
Terrible as slavery is, the only slavery that will matter in the end is that which we bring upon ourselves by our sin. We see sin and find it attractive. We become attached to it. We wrap our arms around it and embrace it, thereby creating the bonds that hold us captive. By the time we want to let go, we think we can't. We know, though, that with grace we will be able, but grace doesn't necessarily make it easy. And when we finally do let go, we can't be sure that we will never find ourselves in the same bondage again.
This week in the Office of Readings, we have been reading about the ten plagues, and Pharaoh's refusal to let the Israelites go to worship the Lord. After a plague, Pharaoh would tell Moses to go, but then he would change his mind. In a way, we are Pharaoh. We decide that with the Lord's help, we will set ourselves free, but then we change our minds and return to our captivity. It may be that at times we will not be able to let go until we, like Pharaoh, are struck to the heart with some great loss.
It may be that at some point in our lives, we finally become so closely united to Our Lord that the attachment to sin may fall from us forever. I hope this is true, although I certainly am not there yet. At best I can only say that my awareness of sin, and my repugnance for it are greater than they have ever been, and my attraction to the heart of Jesus seems to be growing. I pray that this will continue for all of us and that this Lent may move us further along this road.