As you know, Fridays are days of abstinence for Catholics in Lent. That is to say, on the Fridays of Lent Catholics abstain from eating meat. I've posted on this here and here.
For many, Friday abstinence from eating meat is no hardship at all, especially if we choose to replace a meat entree with some succulent frutti di mare.
Just a little past the half-way mark in this Lenten season, this might be the moment to review what we pledged on Ash Wednesday, what we promised to "give up" or "go without" as a sacrifice, as a way of feeling in our flesh and bone what's more easily assigned to the spiritual realm.
Some reflection, then, to prepare for my 10 minutes of prayer today...
Lord, you made me to be a human being:
I have flesh and bone, heart and soul, spirit and matter
and this side of death I cannot separate one from the other...
I live in a consumer's culture of comfort:
food and drink, nourishment and clean water
are seldom far beyond my arm's reach
and I so easily take for granted
what others hunger, thirst and die for...
I often spiritualize my faith, Lord,
as though I were some kind of disembodied spirit
- but I am no angel!
I have only to look upon your Cross
to remember that my faith calls me, body and soul,
to unite myself with you, in your body and soul,
and to know in my own person
the burden you carried for me and for us all...
What did I pledge, on Ash Wednesday,
to give up, to go without, to sacrifice, to deny myself?
Have I been faithful to that pledge?
Have I been faithful enough to experience
how the denial of some food or drink or comfort
might be felt, might be known
in my belly, my body, my hunger, my thirst?
Have I been faithful to my Ash Wednesday promise
in those times when fidelity would have had the most impact?
Did I not pledge on Ash Wednesday to give up something,
to go without, to sacrifice, to deny myself?
If not, help me see that half of Lent is ahead of me
and it's not too late to make a pledge...
Most of all, Lord, in some way,
help me know in the whole of my person
what it means to follow you,
to hunger and thirst with you,
to hunger and thirst for you
and for what you offer me in these holy days...
Help me experience my faith in my body, Lord,
as you knew your love for me in yours. ..
Help me abstain from anything not worthy
of your truth, of my faith, of my being created
in your image and likeness...
Help me abstain from anything leads me away from you,
from anything that keeps me from you,
from anything that does not bring me closer
to you and your love...
Help me abstain from all that distracts me
from prayer, from time with you, from the stillness
in which I can most easily see and know that indeed, Lord,
you are my God and you are close by my side...
Be still... and know that I am God...
Are you new to "Praying 10 Minutes a Day in Lent" - or are you having trouble getting started? The first installment offers some thoughts on getting started, as do the subsequent posts in the series. So take a look and join us!
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