Friday, February 15, 2013

Rome on holiday

Isaiah 58:1-9; ps 51 a contrite and humble heart, o god, you will not spurn; Matthew 9:14-15

"And then they will fast"

These are the words that conclude the gospel for this first Friday of Lent.  We have started our 40 day ritual of seeking to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, fasting and emoting ourselves of all those attachments that have kept us grounded, that have weighed us down and even held us back from running the race faithfully and true.

"And then they will fast"

Fasting is an important tool.  It is a necessary discipline that is incorporated in the arsenal we use to fight that constant on slaughter of selfishness we have to face daily.

As we fast, this saying no to a variety of goods, we direct our mind to the highest good and thus we seek the strength to say 'yes' to Him.

We fast from ourself, so to take possession of ourself and then give ourself to Him above.

"And then they will fast".

It is strange to be thinking of fasting as I sit here just beyond the piazza Navona here in campo di fiori    In Rome.  Perhaps it seems a strange place to spend the first week of Lent.

The wine and cheese and pasta beckon at every corner.  Food is everywhere as I see to fast.  It was much easier in my rectory where there is hardly any temptations at all.  But here the smells are truly captivating.  The food is enticing.  Yet, fasting must commence.

I think of the book, Eat, pray, love.  I think the author got it wrong.

It isn't indulgence that leads to self awareness but just the opposite.  It is exactly in withholding ourself, restraining ourself we are more able to understand who we are called to be.  In fasting, we discover our inner strength, Christ who lives with in us.

This is the reason for lent, that we may let go finally of our self sufficiency a d truly rely on Him who is all in all.

From Rome, happy fasting.

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