Would you like fries with that?
One of the traditional practices of Lent is fasting – denying ourselves some food so that we feel our hunger, feel our need. This is not dieting though the practice may look the same and physically get similar results. If we do not regularly face our neediness as human beings before God, we will eventually be consumed by greediness. If we do not recognise that we have a space in our heart that only God’s grace can fill, we will try to fill that space with all sorts of other things that can so easily become addictions.
Food isn’t the only thing we may have trouble with. There is alcoholism on both sides of my extended family and, though I like a drink, every year or two I go off alcohol for Lent to ‘test my heart.’ Some young people are so addicted to the mobile phone that they sleep with it under their pillow ‘in case’ a text comes through the night. Are they so afraid of loneliness? If a message does come, what happens to the night’s sleep? When shopping is a major form of entertainment, what happens to just spending time with family and friends?
We all have wants like these that we need to face and Lent is a good time to do it because we are looking towards to the source of all true joy: the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Anything that seems to put our lives out of balance can be a sign of the space God is meant to fill in our lives. This Lent consider what may be putting your life off balance, cut back on it for awhile and see what effect this has on you. If you experience a ‘hunger’, indeed a ‘craving’, pray for the Spirit’s guidance to how you should deal with this.
Loving God, you know the desires of our hearts and the weaknesses that can cause so much sorrow and grief. Send us the wisdom of your Spirit to guide us in facing our weakness. Lead us to the fullness of life that Jesus offers. We ask this in his name confident that you will hear us.
Sr Kym Harris osb