Do you think that I've given up WhollyRoaminCatholic.com for lent? Rest assured, gentle reader. I have not. I'm not out of the woods yet with life, but I'm starting to see the clearing. Have patience, I'll be with you soon. I've got a lot to talk about as soon as I get time.
But I have a second right now, so here's a quick ramble of what's on my mind.
It's been a week since Ash Wednesday. How's those Lenten Resolutions coming along? I made a few this year:
(1) Giving up meat for all of lent.
(2) Adding 1 hour of adoration or Mass per week.
(3) No snacks from the vendor at work.
(4) Make some charitable donations to worthy causes.
I'm doing OK so far. I have to fess up to accidentally grubbing some little sausages from the sample guy at the grocery store the other day. I grabbed a toothpick as I walked by and took one bite... and daaaaaang. It was an accident. Nonetheless, I've already broken my resolution. Mea Culpa!
But I'll do better from here on out. I promise.
The hardest thing is giving up my afternoon snack while I'm slaving away in the salt mine. I had no idea my compusion to Gardettos or Peanut Butter M&Ms. But woah! It's hard. I've made up for this by eating Post-Its and sniffing White Out. Then I'm not so eager for some chocolate donettes. You do what you gotta do.
I'm also somewhat concerned about #4. There are so many worthy charities that need a couple bucks here in these hard times. But I've also kind of back-spent some money from my Husband Payment (it's like borrowing from my familial allowance). I think I should have saved a little by Easter to make a small donation. I'm making two donations this year: to Catholic Charitites and to Priests for Life. Those contributions will have to wait a few weeks. It's in poor form to write hot checks for charitable donations.
Other than that, I hoped to add a little earnest prayer and contemplation. This is extraordinarily difficult for me. I am not a very good pray-er. God Bless those contemplatives to give their lives in quiet meditation and prayer. I don't know how they do it. What with all the bongos and the electric guitars in church, it's a wonder that anyone finds quiet mystery in prayer. Still, I resolve to pray; I am resolved to listen to the Lord.
In this respect, I am reminded of the story of Elijah at the cave: Elijah was a Jewish man in the 9th century before Christ who was called to speak Truth to Power. In his time, the land of Israel had split into the North and South Kingdoms-- presenting a number of political and religious complications for everyone involved. It was Elijah's job to march up to the Northern Kingdom and preach to the Northern King to knock off some tomfoolery-- including tearing down a temple built for the pagan god Baal.
Elijah was led out into the wilderness to receive his call from God. The story is retold in the Bible in the First Book of Kings:
(a note of translation: Elijah is often identified using his Hebrew name, Elijah. Some Bible translations use the Latinized name, Elias. It's the same person either way.)
And he said to him: Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord: and behold the Lord passeth, and a great and strong wind before the Lord over throwing the mountains, and breaking the rocks in pieces: the Lord is not in the wind, and after the wind an earthquake: the Lord is not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire: the Lord is not in the fire, and after the fire a whistling of a gentle air. And when Elias heard it, he covered his face with his mantle, and coming forth, stood in the entering in of the cave.I very much like this story and it has a lot of personal significance to me that I won't share here. If we ever meet in real life, ask me and I'll tell you the story. But I like it very much because it tells how mankind can hear God in the quiet whispering of the breeze, the gentle whisper of the air. You have to be still and quiet to find the Lord, you have to dedicate your ears to hearing Him, you have to stand silent to hear the majesty of the Almighty.
I am not very good at being still, quiet or silent. If you know me, you know that I'm actually an excitable loudmouth who does too much talking for his own good. Such is the way that the Good Lord made me. So this lent, I've decided to give another hour a week to quiet contemplation and prayer. To step away from the daily earthquakes and fires that consume all of our lives; to give up the self-serving qualities of life and spend a little time serving Him instead. To listen for Him in the whistle of the air. To hear His voice in the glory of His creation. Quiet. Contemplative. Prayer. Still.
I hope you're having a blessed and fruitful Lent.