Friday, March 12, 2010

Fishy Friday

Yes, we eat fish on Fridays in Lent. 
Or we just have a vegetarian menu.
We make small sacrifices during Lent to help us say "no" to our bodies to train us to say "yes" to God.
We heard an outstanding homily this Lent, given by Deacon Larry K.
I include this excerpt for reading and reflecting:

The Season of Lent is a time to work... on letting go of things that are not necessary, so as to be free to set our sites on higher things. We have three main ways to do that. They are prayer, fasting and works of charity. You might say, we add, we subtract and we multiply. We add more prayer time. We subtract some material pleasure. And we multiply our works of charity.

Of these three, many find fasting the most challenging. The idea of self-denial is so contrary to the culture of self-indulgence that is all around us. And yet the practice of fasting runs deep within our Catholic tradition. Christ Himself spent 40 days in the dessert praying and fasting. Many of the saints practiced asceticism. After all, one who dies a martyr is not suddenly able to give up their whole life for their faith, without first having learned self-denial in smaller ways.

We fast as a way to learn self discipline. You know, the word "disciple" is derived from the word "discipline". When we fast, we voluntarily give up something we would like as a way to learn to say "no" to our self when there is very little at stake, so that we will be able to say "no" to our self when our very soul may be at stake.

Voluntary self-sacrifice strengthens us to handle the inevitable suffering that life will surely bring to us and to use that natural suffering of life as an opportunity to enter into the mystery of the cross. If we bring our sorrows and lay them at the foot of the cross, at the foot of the altar, if we lift up our pain and offer it to God, it can take on a new meaning. By joining our sacrifice to that of Christ, our pain becomes redemptive suffering, and we actually participate in the salvation of souls.

So... if we have not yet begun our Lenten Spirituality, or we started with good intensions, but they have faded a bit, it's not too late. There's still plenty of time in Lent. It's not necessary to make grand gestures nor to do things that are harmful to ourselves. Small sacrifices can accomplish great things. Our fasting, along with our prayer and our works of charity can help us grow spiritually, can help us learn to detach from the material goods of this world and place our trust instead in God's eternal plan for us. ~ Deacon Larry K.

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