Adventus

"The central doctrine of Christianity, then, is not that God is a bastard. It is, in the words of the late Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, that if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you."--Terry Eagleton

"It is impossible for me to say in my book one word about all that music has meant in my life. How then can I hope to be understood?--Ludwig Wittgenstein

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice."--Bryan Stevenson

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Eating a full dinner



"Such exercises as fasting cannot have their proper effect unless our motives for practicing them spring from personal meditation.  We have to think what we are doing, and the reasons for our action must spring from the depths of our freedom, and be enlivened by the transforming power of Christian love.  Otherwise, our self-imposed sacrifices are likely to be pretenses, symbolic gestures without real interior meaning.  Sacrifices made in this formalistic spirit tends be mere acts of external routine performed in order to exorcise interior anxiety and not for the sake of love.  In that case, however, our attention will tend to fix itself upon the insignificant suffering which we have piously elected to undergo, and to exaggerate it in one way or the other, either to make it seem unbearable, or else to make it seem more heroic than it actually is.  Sacrifices made in this fashion would be better left unmade.  It would be more sincere as well as more religious to eat a full dinner in a spirit of gratitude that to make some picayune sacrifice of part of it, with the feeling that one is suffering martyrdom."

--Thomas Merton


"When the stomach is full, it is easy to talk of fasting."

--Jerome, fourth century

3 Comments:

Blogger rustypickup said...

Just to prove Facebook isn't completely useless, the following was a suggested article on my feed. 19Lent I have picked 3 that I want to give up for Lent and I am using them as my devotionals for the 40 days. In the spirit of disclosure they are fear, a spirit of poverty and impatience, which are really about trust, acting in a gospel of plenty and patience. I am dust and to dust I shall return.

3:13 PM  
Blogger rick allen said...

"It would be more sincere as well as more religious to eat a full dinner in a spirit of gratitude than to make some picayune sacrifice of part of it, with the feeling that one is suffering martyrdom."

Not that I can strictly deny this, but I would add that, since I never really lack for food, my most modest attempt at the least demanding sort of fast always leaves me grumpy, short and feeling martyred, so that Merton's observation easily becomes a rationale for giving up fasting entirely. I am after all always and sincerely grateful for any full plate of good food.

4:45 PM  
Blogger Rmj said...

As Jerome said....

And I agree; I can skip a meal once in a while, but true fasting is beyond me.

6:13 PM  

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