Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Do You Want Dessert?

Silly question, I know. But this Lent, I made a rash decision: no snacks between meals, no desserts (except, of course, on special occasions, feasts, solemnities, and Sundays, which officially begin with the vigil on Saturday).

What?

I really like dessert. And dessert likes me. But let's get to the Heart of Things, because that's what this blog is all about.

In the realm of the spirit, which is of course intimately joined to the body, I think we can often fall into a "dessert spirituality." We want prayer to taste good. We want our time with God to be sweet, to cleanse the palate as it were, and to make our mood fresh, clean and clear.... "Ah yes, here's my list of wants and needs, Lord. And yes, whipped cream and a cherry on top would be great."

But most of the time, I think our Loving Father wants us to have a "meat and potatoes" spirituality. Solid stuff..... stick to your ribs kinda food. Better still, He calls us into a "desert spirituality" more than a "dessert spirituality." He longs for us to depend solely on Him, to step out on a journey into Him, to be fed by Him alone, and not to be weighed down by the baggage of excessive comfort. A mature Christian faith is called out of comfort and into the cross. Into the deep and into the mystery!

"It would be wrong to think that ordinary Christians can be content with a shallow prayer that is unable to fill their whole life. Especially in the face of the many trials to which today's world subjects faith, they would be not only mediocre Christians but 'Christians at risk'."
- Pope John Paul II

God leads us into the desert. If we listen, and we let Him take us there, we will see that this "diet" and this fast are for our own good. To make us strong, to be a real gymnasium for the soul. So are we tough enough? Are we ready for a hike into this wilderness? Remember that He has gone before us even here. We have our guide, we have the water of grace, and the markers on this trail are in the shapes of little crosses.

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