You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. - Isaiah 55:12 (NIV)
In my experience, nothing in nature sings the praises of God as beautifully as mountains. Anna and I visited Colorado for our honeymoon and we both agree that the majesty of the Colorado mountains nourishes the soul. The mountains stand tall yet stable, lifting high into the clouds, their jagged rock peaks salted with beautiful white snow. In the presence of their beauty and grandeur you become lost. For a blissful moment, you are drawn away from thinking about self into the immensity of creation. It is a glimpse of God. A glance of the great Artist that painted this world.
We often think of repentance as primarily something we do. We think of it as a choice that we make. While we do make a choice when we turn away from our sins and follow Jesus, that’s not the deeper truth. The alluring power of the crucified Christ turns us from sin toward God. Like the beauty of mountains moves us away from self into another greater reality, the beauty of Love turns us from selfishness and draws us up into Love Himself.
This reality is highly practical. When our love for God and others grows cold, and old sinful habits start to rear their ugly head again, we need to realize that simply fighting sin is not sufficient. Yes fight the sin, but do so through the power of the cross. Read the Gospels again. Spend time in quiet, meditating on what God did for you on Mount Calvary. Gaze upon Christian art that depicts the crucified Christ. Take the holy Sacrament. Put yourself in the presence of the majestic mountain of God’s love, of Mount Zion, our heavenly home. It is through the cross that we live victoriously. In the words of Bernard of Clairvaux:
What language shall I borrow
To thank Thee, dearest Friend,
For this, Thy dying sorrow,
Thy pity without end?
Oh, make me thine forever!
And should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never,
Outlive my love for Thee.