ASH WEDNESDAY: fasting, ashes … & joy?

Virginia, the blogger, really debated about pulling this Lent-post-a-day gig again this year (seems like i’m always tired!) but here we are.  It’s Ash Wednesday (& your humble blogger has almost recovered from her chocolate hangover!  almost…)

Ashes.  Fasting. Giving up Stuff. Prayer.

The point being?  Lent is a journey that draws us closer to God within a disciplined framework (what we give up & what we do to make More Time for God) from now until Easter.

Sure, sure – we should do this stuff All Year Around (reading more – SPIRITUAL MINDSTUFF, worshiping more, praying more, fasting, helping our neighbors, sharing with those in need, being conduits for & of God’s Mercy etc.)  but Lent reminds us (just in case we forget a little…or busy ourselves with Other Stuff that squishes our God-time into minimal chats..)

water source (UGANDA)Unselfishness vs. Love    Today Msgr. Timothy challenged us with how we go about Lent (& Life) as ‘half-hearted people’ & miss the possibilities of Joy offered along the way.  Do we have to be dour faced & solemn &, well, joy-less during Lent?

Quoting a bit of C.S. Lewis from his “Weight of Glory” sermon, it’s true we often content ourselves with mud pies when delectable confections of joy are On The Lent Menu.

Reading my tattered copy back at home, here are a few excerpts for mind munching:

Regarding the ‘highest of virtues’ C.S. Lewis notes that most people today would claim “Unselfishness.”  But Christians of old “would have replied, Love.”

The negative ideal of Unselfishness carries with it the suggestion not primarily of securing good things for others, but of going without them ourselves, as if our abstinence and not their happiness was the important point…

…Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak.  We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased…

waterfall cropped…We want something else which can hardly be put in to words – to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it…if we are reborn in Christ, the spirit in us lives directly on God…The whole man is to drink joy from the fountain of joy….

…Meanwhile the cross comes before the crown and tomorrow is a Monday morning…the load, or weight, or burden of my neighbor’s glory should be laid daily on my back…There are no ‘ordinary’ people…Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbour is the holiest object presented to your senses.”  (C.S. Lewis, “The Weight of Glory”)

whew!

If you (like me) are trudging around SO VERY TIRED, maybe from lack of sleep or heart-tired from burdens too big to bear, try drinking a bit more from the Fountain of Joy.

Don’t confuse Joy with Happiness (click here to read More About That!) … & stop nibbling mud pies when you could be sipping Champagne from the Heavenly Realm (or, at least a Very Good Bordeaux!)

grace, peace & joyful Ashes

Virginia : )

p.s. i am trying very hard to focus on Joy, but this fasting business tends to morph low-blood-sugared-Virginia into a Grumpy Crab or a muddled puddle.  Prayers to be a mercy-filled-muddled-puddle but NO MUD PIES.

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