LENTEN INVENTORYUpon listening to my daily morning guided meditation about the Transfiguration I was prompted to reflect on my own transfigurative process during Lent. Where am I two weeks into this journey? What areas do I need change and how seriously am I taking this Lent. I was reminded of a recent post by Catholic talk show host Jennifer Fulwiler who stated that after a couple of days into the season she had already broke her Lenten promise. However, she said that it was then she realized that there was a deeper need for God and there were many unresolved issues that she needed to work on.
FALLING AND GETTING UP AGAINI find myself in continual need for God's intervention in my life. Over the last few years I have tried to fast between meals on Fridays. For the most part I am able to do so, but it seems the first weeks is always a challenge. I find myself slipping rationalizing why I can grab a cookie after dinner or even load up on a big dinner. Not much of a fast and I know I am fooling no one especially God. This brings on guilt and a profound sense of my inadequacy as a human. Why do I need God in this area of my life? What is wrong with food I rationalize?
The reality is sacrifice is as bad it seems. I look to Abraham in today's reading who was about to sacrifice his son Isaac. I am sure he was heartbroken. Yet he all but carried out the action. He was ready to take upon whatever God asked of him, but found reward for his actions.
I need not go on with my questions, but instead look for solutions. Yes I struggle with giving up fast involving food. But what other way to I fast? Being a history teacher I pride myself in being informed on the latest news and current events. However, I find myself opening up my phone to read the news and becoming fixated and highly judgemental of many of those detailed in latest events. I cannot ignore the news, but instead I can bypass those stories that trigger my emotions. The next step in the process is praying for the individuals in the news stories. To become more intentional I can pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet pausing on each bead to pray for those individuals that I don't agree with or I find offensive.
SEARCHINGStill looking for answers on how and why to fast I came across a video from Father Mike Schmitz thanks to to a link in a post from fellow blogger Allison Gingras. Father Mike has a great description of fasting using the four themes of self mastery, obedience and discernment, worship and sacrifice and getting to our own hearts.
Since Father Mike's video details all of four quite well I will only focus on my struggle with first one. Self-mastery is being able to myself not to be mastered by own desires in this case food. This in itself is a sacrifice giving up my desire but also uniting myself with others who are without food and with sufferings of the Church throughout the world. Secondly, I have this innate desire to judge others. My judging heart is not something I desire to have any master of as I like to put myself on a pedestal above others. However, it seems that God has other plans for me. During this Lenten season I have found myself asking for something from the very people I have judged. Yes, God works in mysterious ways and these ways can be quite revealing sometimes and redemptive.
The transfiguration process is ongoing as I am still climbing the mountain. As I climb a little bit of the load is jettisoned as I surrender to God instead of the temptation to eat or judge. It is not only Lent but daily. Lent allows me to probe deeper. As much as I struggle with what I give up during this time I find that it also allows me to repent for my sinfulness and brokenness. Little by little I am being washed so that I can fully be united with Christ. I don't have the faith of Abraham that God will take care of everything, but for now a mustard seed will do.