Thursday, February 9, 2012
Feast or Famine?
“Therefore, let us celebrate the feast, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” 1 Corinthians 5: 8
Lent is fast approaching. And to be honest with you, I have a love-hate relationship with this annual penitential season of the Church. I love it because I know I need it for I am still far too selfish, greedy, and prideful. But I hate it because it is hard—well it is hard if you follow what the Church teaches about it, do what She obligates us to do during it and maybe even go a little beyond the minimal expectations of it. So I have to begin mentally preparing myself for it a little ahead of time, which is probably why I am thinking about it today.
I need to get ready to fast. Not just from food and not just on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. No, I need to get ready to fast from noise and busyness. I try to slow down a bit in my life during Lent (if possible) and I try to spend more time in quiet listening to God speak to me. I do this in a special way when driving in my car when I don’t turn on the radio or listen to my iPod. That’s right, no music, no sports talk, no games. Nothing. And sometimes for ministry I have to be in the car for hours driving from one retreat or another. But this is good for me.
I need to get ready to pray. Sure, I try to pray every day now, but in Lent I try to take it up a notch. I try to spend more time in prayer. I try to do the Stations of the Cross with my kids. I try to read my Bible more and with more reverence and focus, not just for my job or ministry, but to see what God is speaking to MY heart for ME. I try to engage more of my heart and mind at every Mass I attend.
I need to get ready to give alms. While my family tithes already, we try to eat more simply during Lent. No more eating out, less fancy meals at home. Less snacking, more sacrificing. And perhaps give more financially to others in need during this season; as a matter of justice, as a matter of faith.
What might God being calling you to do this Lenten season to prepare your hearts for the Paschal Triduum and for Easter? What will you fast from? How will you pray better? What alms shall you sacrifice?
At times the 40 days of Lent can seem like a famine in our lives, especially as we suffer through it while others do nothing different around us except perhaps enjoy a cheaper #9 value meal at McDonald’s (the filet-o-fish). But in this “famine” we find a spiritual banquet. And come Easter, we will have 50 days of “feasting”. A stark reminder of our lives: that when the days of our earthly lives come to an end, hopefully we will be worthy of the eternal feast of heaven. Not for 50 days, but forever!
Dear Jesus, please help to feast with You, to fast with You, to spend each and every moment with You in this life, so that I can spend eternity with You in the next life. Amen.