Lent is here, aaaaack! As Ash Wednesday begins the 40-day Lenten journey to Easter, we forage into fasting & abstinence (all the things we mean to give up, must give up, try to give up?) But Lent is about more than just giving up chocolate and chips, it’s about drawing closer to God in a deeper way, opening up the closets of our lives to a cleaning out of the rubble & a bit of Heavenly restoration.
My Lenten fast actually began last week. Noticing several pairs of pants seemingly shrank (!!) I stepped onto the scales. Ooops. Back to the virtuous vegan path (winter munchies now patrolled with stringent intent.)
Which brings me to this mantra: mindful or mindless? A good question, not just about Lenten food intake but something to consider in other parts of our lives. Are we mindful of what we’re eating, or just mindlessly eating more? (‘Til the bag is gone.) Are we mindful of what we’re putting into our heads (& hearts), or just mindlessly letting the next Netflix episode binge-us-over?
“So, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (I Corinthians 10:31)
Just ‘saying. Mindful vs. Mindless. I can mindlessly take a whole bag of chips (or tin of ‘healthy nuts’) in with me whilst watching something exciting, or I can mindfully measure out a few into a small bowl to savor one at a time.
Are we making choices mindfully – thinking about them, a bit? (Not obsessing, but at least taking a sec to reflect?) Or, are we mindlessly allowing our next whatevers to be, whatever? (As in, unduly influenced by others, just doing whatever it is unthinkingly?)
“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.” (I Corinthians 3:16-17)
Before the onset of his quadriplegia, my Papa loved to jog miles and miles. When we were little, my brother & I counted his laps up & down the boardwalk in Va. Beach. Papa called his jogging Temple Maintenance: he had that emblazoned on the back of his bright 1970s yellow jogging suit.
Lent is an opportunity for us to engage in a little Temple Maintenance: outside & inside. To discipline external muscles & strengthen internal faith muscles. Maybe clean out our musty mind closets? Let our spiritual lives get a new paint job? (The sanding may hurt a bit, but what fun to see what new colors God can swirl in us?)
And so, it begins. Will our Lenten journeys include mindful Temple Maintenance, or will we mindlessly keep munching (whole bags) of chips?
grace, peace & mindfulness
Virginia : )
p.s. It’s Ash Wednesday AND Valentine’s Day! Here’s a favorite quote that combines the two in an amazing way.
“Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, in falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.” Pedro Arrupe, S.J.