Providential Synchonicity

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Two readings this morning:

from Morning Prayer, the Intercession

May we abstain from what we do not really need,
and help our brothers and sisters in distress.

And this from my present bookgroup:

from Freedom of Simplicity
Richard J Foster

The life pleasing to God is not found in a series of religious duties but in obedience. The fast that God desired was for the people to "loose the bonds of wickedness" and to "let the oppressed go free." God's word to them were these: "Share your bread with the hungry" and bring the "homeless poor into your house." (Is 58: 5-7)

Fast from what you do not really need anyway. This doesn't seem like such a difficult thing, but many of us, perhaps most of us, are daily indulged in our own wants. We have more than we need and we crave more yet.

God did not set up a given economic system--He is not a capitalist or a communist or a distributist or an economist of any sort. He is God. He points out simple truths. You don't need that. And what we don't need generally weighs us down. Sometimes it does so in real physical reality--we eat more than we need and we increase our girth. But more often it is in psychological and spiritual terms. We have more than we really need and we cease to use or own things and we become the servant of things.

I think back to the time when I rented an apartment or a townhouse from someone else. When something went wrong, I simply called the landlord and it was dealt with, most often quite quickly. Yes, there were some restrictive rules, perhaps some problems with the system, but I had a place to live and it did not loom large in my mind.

Now I "own" a house. This last season I sat through four hurricanes wondering how I was to take care of this house, reroof it, de-mold it, repair it. Early this year I think how I must buy hurricane shutters, or get this thing or that thing removed or adjusted. The house owns me. It demands things of me never demanded by a rented townhouse. It requires of me things that I gave no thought to when I simply rented. And it offers no better surety or security. And thanks to owner's associations, I am even more restricted than when I lived in a townhouse. Some feel the warm glow of ownership--I feel, more often, the shackles of being owned.

The fast that we do today reminds us not only of God, but it should also remind us of those less fortunate than ourselves, those who do not have even a single full meal to eat in a day. The fast that the Church requires today is a fast that, should be choose to do so, we could easily live on the rest of our lives without being deprived. The fast we observe under Church regulation wisely focuses our attention on what we need not on what we want.

Try this experiment (if in ill health, obviously consult your physician first). Take this day of fast and extend it. See what happens to you , to your waistline (if that is a concern) to your health and to your awareness. And see what you save. Then take that and give it to the poor. What you do not eat, what you fast from--that can feed others. As you train yourself to focus on what you need, you can at the same time help others, with no other sacrifice whatsoever. Let this day be a dawning of new awareness. Let your little physical hunger drive the hunger for righteousness and for justice. Open your heart to give God a home. Offer Him your excesses and you will find yourself freed from them. More, you will find in His heart of generosity the spirit of generosity itself and become unburdened in matters that are only of the moment.

God will rescue us from the greatest foe of all--our own desires.

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Amen and thank you!



About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on February 9, 2005 8:13 AM.

Two Notes from Today's Reading was the previous entry in this blog.

Lenten Thoughts is the next entry in this blog.

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