For today’s blog, we’re catching up on two recent writings within a Lenten series from Fr. Michael Schleupner. Fr. Michael is a favorite retreat presenter and spiritual director here at the Center and we really appreciate how he shares his writing with our blog audience! We hope that you’re blessed from his words of inspiration during this sacred season of Lent.
Lent Musings – 2
My March 13 ‘Temptation’ blog concluded with my saying that fasting from food often connects us with some behavior from which we need to fast. In fact, isn’t this the real purpose of any fasting? Ultimately, fasting during Lent needs to become transformative. Fasting from food needs to lead us to fast from certain behaviors and embrace other behaviors.
“Fast from judging others; Feast on Christ dwelling in them.
Fast from emphasis on differences; Feast on the unity of all life.
Fast from apparent darkness; Feast on the reality of all light.
Fast from words that pollute; Feast on phrases that purify.
Fast from discontent; Feast on gratitude.
Fast from anger; Feast on patience.
Fast from worry; Feast on God’s providence.
Fast from complaining; Feast on appreciation.
Fast from negatives; Feast on affirmatives.
Fast from unrelenting pressures; Feast on unceasing prayer.
Fast from hostility; Feast on non-resistance.
Fast from bitterness; Feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern; Feast on compassion for others.
Fast from discouragement; Feast on hope.
Fast from facts that depress; Feast on verities that uplift.
Fast from lethargy; Feast on enthusiasm.
Fast from suspicion; Feast on truth.
Fast from thoughts that weaken; Feast on promises that inspire.
Fast from shadows of sorrow; Feast on the sunlight of serenity.
Fast from idle gossip; Feast on purposeful silence.
Fast from problems that overwhelm; Feast on prayer that sustains.”
More Lenten Musings next week, in the Inbox Inspirations of March 23!
~Father Michael Schleupner
Quotation From A Lenten Prayer by William Arthur Ward
Lent Musings – 3
I previously reflected on the value of the three traditional Lenten practices of fasting, prayer, and charitable giving. Jesus specifically mentions these three practices in the gospel of Matthew, and this passage is read every year on Ash Wednesday. I also looked at how fasting from food needs to lead us to fast from certain behaviors that are not consistent with the gospel and to embrace other ways that more expressive of the gospel and our faith. For example, we might fast from always seeing the downside of things and instead try to see God’s presence and blessings in our lives. I review what I have said in the past two weeks because today my Lenten Musings take a direction that may seem opposite of the above.
Sometimes, we might think that we have to give up something or maybe add something to our lives during Lent. And sometimes it is a good idea to do this: maybe to give up some desserts or add prayer during Lent. But sometimes we may already feel quite burdened with things in life or we may already be too busy. In these situations, giving up something may just lead us to feel even more burdened and adding something may just lead us to feel more put upon.
So, in some instances, Lent may consist in just choosing the life we already have with all of its built-in crosses and demands. It may be choosing the life we already have and trying to live it with a new spirit – maybe with more patience or with more listening or whatever. In other words, Lent may mean that we simply pray to God to help us to do what must be done and about which we have no choice, and that we pray to God to help us do what we have to do more fully in the spirit of Jesus.
Sometimes it may be that simple.
~Father Michael Schleupner
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