In the Spirit of today’s Gospel reflection with regards to Jesus’ explanation as to why his disciples do not fast, it struck me that we are in the age when the “bridegroom is not with us,” so to speak. I truly have to prioritize my attention on His presence in the body of people who cross my path on a daily basis. So my fasting this Lent is to be a discipline of re-calling, re-covering, re-collecting, re-storing and reconciling with those whom, otherwise, I would have no quality time. A Lenten resolution for me ( and this sounds very mundane, but it does address a real issue ), is to make an all-out effort to deliberately pay attention to the person or natural setting with which I am in immediate contact. Rather than rushing around here and there, I would be conscious of the person, or natural setting in closest proximity to me. How Jesus wants to use the personal, intimate presence of the bridegroom during these 40 days is entirely up to him.
I want to “surrender my priorities as best I can so as to be “present’ to the other.
The Pope’s observation about St. Francis in paragraph #10 of Laudato Si takes up in a fairly comprehensively manner what we are to be about during Lent. (St. Francis) was particularly concerned for God’s creation and of the poor and the outcasts. “He loved, and was deeply loved for his joy, his generous self-giving, his openheartedness. He was mystic and a pilgrim who lived in simplicity and in wonderful harmony with God, with others, with nature and with himself.” In this way, Pope Francis points out (#10) just how inseparable the bond is between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace. I want to establish a simple discipline that I can follow in order to alleviate the so-called overconsumption which becomes a distraction in so many ways to building an intimate relationship with Christ.
Fr. Alex Steinmiller, C.P., is the administrator at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Birmingham, Alabama.