“What are you going to give up for Lent?!”:
it’s a question which many will ask in coming days.
It’s only one question, though,
which we should be about asking in these days.
Equally important is the question of
“What you are going to positively take up?”
Lenten preparation, you see, hovers between the poles of
“what do I need to die to?” and “what do I need to live for?”
It’s in the maintenance of both questions
that we most fully and properly prepare
for Easter, Easter’s Faith, and Easter living.
Mentioning this to Kathy the other day had her recalling a friend who took her out to lunch. “I decided that, once a week, as a discipline for Lent, I’d take someone I was grateful for out to lunch,” he told her. (Admittedly, it made me a little suspicious to hear that. “What a pick-up line,” I thought. That is, until she told me it was Brian [a co-leader from the Catholic Center] – in time to become Fr. Brian.)
I came across the “fast from & feast on” list, above, at a retreat a few years ago. (Thank you, Father Philip Chircop!) It reminds us, does it not, that this dynamic is a logical part of Lenten devotion—in which our “giving ups” companion with and inspire our “taking ups”!
Forging and fashioning the liturgical calendar,
early Christians knew that strides
in spiritual formation was to be found
in a faithful and disciplined observance
of the fundamental rhythms of our Lord’s life.
It’s our prayer—for ourselves and you:
that God’s Grace and Peace
would shepherd us all
as we embark
on the ancient pilgrimage to Easter which is Lent
—fasting and feasting on the way to the celebration of Easter.