Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Master Has Need of It

During the reading of the Gospel at the Procession from today's Palm Sunday mass, I was thinking of the passage about the untying of the colt. The owners of the colt ask the disciples why they are untying the colt, and Jesus has already told the disciples to respond, "The Master has need of it" (Luke 19:34). This line struck me as a wonderful reminder of how Jesus calls each of us to serve Him in small, unnoticed ways, because He has need of us to do so. Just as He rode the colt in His triumphant procession into Jerusalem, we, too, can be instruments for the Lord to carry out His work in humble ways. Sometimes we are tempted to say that we are not important, or that we have no purpose. However, Jesus tells us that the this is not true. Jesus chose that colt for that occasion. This Holy Week, let us humbly submit to the Lord, serving Him in whatever way He asks, no matter how small, no matter how seemingly insignificant, knowing that the task He selects for us is meant to move us closer to eternal life with Him. Let us trust Jesus when He tells us that He has need of us.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Some Thoughts on Fasting

I don't like fasting. I'm of Italian heritage, and we like our food. This Lent I'm trying to fast on Fridays by skipping lunch. I have had some difficulty doing this. Last week I gave in and add some food (still not a whole lunch, but not what I had planned). Today I made it, with some help from the wisdom of others.

Fr. Mark, a Benedictine monk from the Tulsa, OK diocese has a wonderful blog, Vultus Christi. In his entry from February 23, he says that each Lent he chooses a saint (or actually, he asks the Lord each to choose a saint for him) to be his companion for the season. I thought that was an excellent idea. I am trying to walk with St. John of the Cross this Lent. Currently, I am reading his Sayings of Light and Love. Here are a couple of passages that are relevant for fasting:

If you make use of your reason, you are like one who eats substantial food; but if you are moved by the satisfaction of your will, you are like one who eats insipid fruit. (#46)

This way of life contains very little business and bustling, and demands mortification of the will more than knowledge. (#58)

Feed not your spirit on anything but God. Cast off concern about things, and bear peace and recollection in your heart. (#81)

I also thought about Philippians 3:19. Speaking of "enemies of the cross of Christ":

Their end is destruction, their god is the belly, and they glory in their shame.

Finally, I started taking a course in moral theology last night, and we discussed values. I thought to myself today, which do I value more, my God or my stomach?

When I am weak, I try to remember that I cannot do this (or any other thing) on my own. I need God's strength. I think of Habakkuk 1:11:

...guilty men whose own might is their god!

And so I will continue to try to learn the lessons of fasting, which Christian tradition highly values as a path towards God.