Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Fasting for the soul..
"Again the devil took him up into a very high mountain, and shewed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them, and said to him: All these will I give thee, if falling down thou wilt adore me." (Matthew IV: 8-9)
Through the Lent season , we abstain from meat on , Ash Wednesday , Friday's and Good Friday. A lot of people perform acts of penance or such things as, giving up sweets, television, alcohol and certain types of things similar to those mentioned.
But what is the connection here to the 40 days of Jesus in the desert?
Well lets look at what this 40 days in the desert is:
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter (Satan) came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread."
Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"
Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: "'He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'" Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"
It's always struck me when Satan tempts Christ with his words "If you are the Son of God" tempting him to authenticate his deity by a miracle.
It's also obvious that Satan knows the bible.
"Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him."
It seems a little obvious here that the kingdoms of the world belong to Satan, perhaps, although I cannot be sure.
So I see the desert time, or time in the wilderness as a time of deprivation.
Through our deprivation, we find that we are not all powerful. We are slaves to our stomachs, to pleasure, to what others think, to what everyone else has, the lastest fads, etc.
We feel a bit of pain, so we take a pill. We don't like how we look so we diet, face lifts, colour any grey hairs if we are getting older etc. So doing away with some of our things that we choose to fast from can actually show us something, we can be bigger than all this, we are not chained to the things we seem to think we are. This is a great time to reflect on what we are truly slaves to in this world.
Lent means spring, and this time can be a good time for that spring clean within yourself. And we can be reminded that man does not live on bread alone, just like Christ said. But there is something we do need, and that's God and his bread. He provides us with all we need, the spiritual food, not only for our body but for our soul. This is a time to remember that we need God above all else.
Through fasting, learn to feel compassion for the poor and hungry and to save our own resources so that we can help those in need. As my priest said to one person who was giving up wine , "if you give up your wine, don't just stock up for when Lent is over, use the money you save for a worthy cause"