May the grace and peace of the Holy Spirit be with us forever!
For all Christians, Lent is a time of particular grace. We are given the opportunity to enter more deeply into the Paschal Mystery.
The traditional practice of fasting during Lent can be particularly helpful in entering the spirit of the season. When we fast we are surrendering the illusion that we can somehow satisfy ourselves or make ourselves happy. Instead we accept that fact that God is the one who fills us up, God is the one who gladdens our hearts. We don’t need to grasp after anything or attain anything to live a full and rich life. All we need do is create the open space in our hearts so that God can pour in those graces which the Lord desires to give.
The mystical tradition of fasting teaches us that the spiritual life is the process of awakening to what already is. When we fast we clear away (subtract) the clutter of our lives so that we can recognize the God who lies at the heart of human existence.
Let me suggest a fast: let us refrain from judging ourselves. There is a story that I like about a farmer in China whose son became very upset because their horse had run away. “This is bad news,” he said. “Good news. Bad news. Who knows?” replied the father. The next day their horse returned to the barn with an entire herd of wild horses accompanying it. “This is good news,” said the son. “Good news. Bad news. Who knows?” replied the father. The next day the son was trying to ride one of the wild horses when he fell and broke his leg. “This is bad news,” said the son. “Good news. Bad news. Who knows?” replied the father. The next day the Chinese army came into the village recruiting all of the able-bodied young men. Since the farmer’s son had a broken leg they passed him by. “Good news. Bad news. Who knows?”
The point I take from the story is that our perspective is too limited. We must wait to see how the providence of God will use the circumstances of our lives for the divine purpose. Instead of judging ourselves a success or a failure, we should merely strive to be faithful to today’s graces. It is up to God to ensure that all turns out well. Good Friday is necessary for there to be an Easter Sunday.