by Ken Rolheiser
A Lenten fast that fills

Fast from hurting words ...and say kind words
Fast from sadness ...and be filled with gratitude
Fast from anger ...and be filled with patience
Fast from pessimism ...and be filled with hope
Fast from worries ...and have trust in God
Fast from complaints ...and contemplate simplicity
Fast from pressures ...and be prayerful
Fast from bitterness ...and fill your hearts with joy
Fast from selfishness ...and be compassionate to others
Fast from grudges ...and be reconciled
Fast from words ...and be silent so you can listen
(Pope Francis)

Be silent so you can listen! Lent is a time to listen to our souls! James Hilman said the task of life is to live soulfully, and we can do that only by truly listening to our souls.

In “Lent and listening to our souls” Father Ron Rolheiser says: Soul is a precious thing worth protecting. It’s the deepest voice inside us, speaking for what’s most important and most soulful in our lives, and so we need ever to heed the warning: take care not to lose your soul.”

God invites us to the task of working on the conversion process this Lent, to what we call metanoia, the turning back to God. This changing of our minds is a conversion process which goes on, hopefully, until the last moment of our lives.

The Eastern Church, in particular the Byzantine rite, believes that with Baptism we begin an incredibly important process called the Divinization Process. In this process we become more like God each and every day after our Baptism.

“The Best Fast for Lent” by Pope Francis calls us not just to avoid evil but to do good. Sin can be a big part of our lives, and if we can eliminate sin, a vacuum is created which must be filled. Good works and love most adequately fill that void.

How do we accomplish all this? Lent gives us quiet time to realize, to actualize, God’s Grace in us. Through his church God invites us to services, to the sacraments, to his love this Lent. Receive the Lord and become what you receive!

We know what weak stuff we are made of, and so we stumble and fall at times. Lent can help us turn from our weaknesses and have the change of heart to which God calls us. 

The realization of God’s love should inspire us. At the baptism of Jesus the heaven’s opened and God’s voice boomed out:
“You are my beloved Son.
With you, I am well pleased.”

God has the same message for us through our baptism. God cannot love us more; and no matter what we do and no matter what we say, God cannot love us less because he loves us completely, Father Brendan McGuire says in “The Divinization Process”.

McGuire goes on to assure us with this beautiful phrase: “A bruised reed you will not break; or smoldering wick you will not quench.” (Matthew 12:20). God is a gentle God and a loving God. That is what Jesus came to tell us.

God our Father waits for us this Lent with open arms. He watches us on our path of life and his love continues. In silence we wait.

Little brown, wrinkled seeds wait for spring. We believe in Resurrection, in new life. “The whole earth is at rest, it is calm, shouting for joy.” (Isaiah 14:7).

(573 words)