I received some positive feedback on my decision to not take part in traditional Lenten fasting. I was pleasantly surprised when my uncle, the priest,wished me well. It was nice to know I was not totally off-base.
The following day my daughter Emily sent me this:
I was much encouraged to see that I am literally on the same page as the Holy Father! Once I read through his list of recommendations I got a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, though…
If the Pope is recommending this, there is going to be more to it than I first envisioned. I may need to go deeper than I ever imagined.
When I began to peruse the first reading from yesterday, the words literally jumped off the page at me. (Isaiah 58:1-9a) “This rather is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; Sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and homeless; Clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own!”
Why is it again that we Catholics started giving up chocolate and dessert, or alcohol for Lent?
How was that fasting ever, “a day acceptable to the Lord?”
Once again, I am humbled by how obtuse I can be. I am the person with the log in my own eye, struggling to pluck out a splinter for my neighbor.
This is what the Lord Jesus intended for me all along. I was just too hung up on my habitual way of practicing my faith to notice.
First, Deanna, remove the log from your own eye. ( It doesn’t say this in the Bible, but there is some level of pain involved in this!) Step away from what you were doing, (the Pandemic makes this part easier), and come and see what kind of life I have in mind for you.
So, I will, “rend my heart,” this Lent. I think it already has a good start. My garments (and my food choices) remain intact. If I keep kindness as my top priority, to myself and others, I hope to enjoy the fruits Pope Francis mentions: gratitude, hope, patience, trust in God, simplicity, joy, reconciliation with others, and a listening spirit.
Just writing those words floods my soul with peace.
I am on the right path. I’m sure this is the road I was meant travel in the first place.
Once I can heal my wounded heart there is work to do! I must renew my commitment to be a voice for those not being heard. I will continue to stand against racism and oppression and strive to see those who need my help. I pray that this Lenten reflective time heals me up so I can move on, with God’s grace, and be His hands and feet, his loving heart to all those I meet.