Friday, February 16, 2018

"Hunger stays 'til it's fed"

Well, it's Friday again. My, how a week flies by! Today is not the first Friday of Lent. The First Friday of Lent is next Friday. Today is the Friday After Ash Wednesday. Hence, the first 4 days of Lent are a kind of warm-up, a time to get started on your preparation for the great Paschal Vigil, for Easter, when we will renew our baptismal promises. Lent is only a holy season if we use to express our hunger and thirst for holiness.

Our hunger and thirst for holiness can only be satisfied by Christ. This is why the Eucharist is so vitally necessary. Being satisfied by Christ means being transformed and conformed more and more to his likeness. Christ-likeness is made most manifest by our care for those in need. So, in terms of the Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting, and alms-giving, one's holiness is made manifest by selflessly giving to and personally helping those in need.

I am convinced that there is a wholeness to prayer, fasting, and alms-giving. I also convinced that fasting connects prayer to alms-giving in a variety of ways. Without a doubt the most concrete way fasting connects prayer to alms-giving was highlighted by Pope Francis in one his homilies: "You pray for the hungry. Then you feed them. That's how prayer works." The means you use to feed the hungry is what you go without while fasting. When you fast, you either do not eat anything or you eat very little. What you do eat because you are fasting is to be given to those in need. I think fasting also shows those of us who live in affluent societies and who are relatively well-off that we can and, in most instances, should live on far less than we are accustomed to consuming. This, in turn, should turn more towards God. There is no "magic" to any of this. Fasting is not glamorous. It can be and usually is a bit difficult. If you fast, chances are at some point you'll grow hungry and want to eat. It is then that you turn to prayer, acknowledging to God what you are really hungry and thirsty for- righteousness, true righteousness, not fake righteousness or self-righteousness.

I suppose that's probably enough from the soapbox for the Friday after Ash Wednesday.

Our Friday traditio is Prefab Sprout's song "Appetite" -

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