Halfway home or halfway to nowhere? Sometimes I feel as if I'm halfway to nowhere since diabetes controls my diet more than I do, requiring that I not fast as I normally would have when "younger." So instead of offering up the hunger pains for one of many reasons, I find myself going for an appropriate snack. I do not like it.
If I were Muslim, I'd be in trouble since they hold to a complete fast every day — no food or drink — from sunrise to sunset, for a whole month during Ramadan. They also fast every Monday or Thursday. And if I were Orthodox I'd be fasting during Lent,
the Apostles' Fast, Dormition Fast, the Nativity Fast, and every
Wednesday and Friday throughout the year. They eat neither meat or fish, no dairy products or eggs. All that's left is…unleavened bread and a vegetarian menu?
Most other Christian faiths leave fasting to the discretion of the individual, mandating nothing as a common practice. Mormons fast on the first Sunday of the month.
Jewish tradition holds for seven different days of fasting, the most known being Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Eating and drinking are prohibited for a 25-hour period on Yom Kippur and Tisha B'av. On the other five days, eating and drinking are prohibited from sunrise to sunset. Suddenly, the "Catholic Fast" looks pretty easy. So as we reach this midpoint of our Lenten season, how well are we doing?
The above-mentioned fasts are done for a variety of reasons, including the purification of the body. Only the Catholic Fast calls its participants to a greater awareness of"becoming" one with their God. So in reflecting on our observance of our Lenten fast, we can reflect on how well we've done in not just keeping a fast, but in allowing it to move us to a greater sharing in, with, of the life and love of our God, of "becoming" who we are not.
We need also to examine our lives and how we have allowed Lent to move us spiritually away from sin and worldly temptations that cause downfalls in our lives so often. And are we using our savings for the sake of the hungry, the poor of God?
St. John's gospel leads us to this great understanding of "becoming" in the dialogue he has with Nicodemus. Those
who are on their way of 'becoming' do not fear the Light, which is the Truth sent from the Father — Jesus. Their ways are not hidden; their purposes not secretive; their plans not deceitful. Their lives are led by the truth without hidden agendas. If Jesus,
and the glory he offers through the suffering of the cross, is our agenda, there is nothing to fear, and no reason to hide. The one who gives life provides the grace to live life, and walk in the Light
of Truth. What more is necessary.
If condemnation comes from those of the world, then we should find reason to rejoice. As St. Paul says, we are the handiwork of God, saved by the grace of Jesus Christ, crucified and raised. So let us seek the Light; let us walk in the Light, the presence and life given by our Savior. Let us speak the truth in the freedom of God. Remember, this Truth, powered by the Holy Spirit,
also enables us to accept the way, the will of the Father, as it
is shown to us through his Church. Therefore, we cannot profess belief in all that God is and then reject what God offers through Church teaching. We believe that it is the very work of salvation.
Liberty Avenue is not a place where you normally wish to just stand around. But I pray that those capable do avail themselves to an hour or so of standing and praying outside the Abortion Clinic on Liberty Avenue this Thursday when St. John's is
scheduled for a twelve-hour shift of prayer and presence. This is not a section displaying the holiness of God since the businesses next to the clinic are far from being family-oriented.
So you actually get to profess a true Catholic belief to many people of various backgrounds. You don't have to say a word to anyone other than a cordial "hello." You're not permitted to try to talk to clients as they enter or leave the clinic unless they speak with you first. So there's no need to worry about debates or confrontations. They don't usually occur — only sad faces on those who wonder why we're so positive about life.
"For Whom the Bell Tolls" has new meaning. My alarm is fixed — the church bells are ringing outside my window again. Two parts replaced and I now know if I'm late or if its time to get up.
Census forms continue to be received at the rectory, which is a wonderful sign. Also positive, the number of parishioners providing email addresses. Soon, those bulk mailing won't be so bulky.
Love and prayers,