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Well, it’s almost Lent and this means it is time for me to be thirsty again. This feeling of thirst will be at times physical, but also a spiritual thirst in contemplating my relationship with God.
The Catholic faith was my upbringing as a child and it was common to “give-up” some everyday pleasure during Lent. One item we gave up was candy, and that is actually the only tangible example to be recalled at this minute; but since we really had little material wealth, and certainly none of todays’ myriad conveniences, what could we really “give-up”?
Fast forward some years: marriage, career, children and a growing spiritual faith thanks mostly to my wife and children, but also many material blessings. Now, what can I give-up? Anything will obviously pale compared to the incomprehensible suffering by Jesus in his last thirsty moments on the Cross, but there are many, many choices in my abundant lifestyle today.
Actually, I’m not sure when this started, maybe 20-25 years ago, but learning that there are 26 references to fasting in the Bible (NSRV), I decided to not eat any food for 1 full day each week during Lent. So beginning Ash Wednesday, each Monday I skip breakfast, don’t eat lunch, and eliminate dinner, plus the usual cookies, popcorn, ice cream … that I would normally consume. And, even though I try to drink much water during the day, the evening hours find me thirsty – so I have a cup of hot tea with lemon and honey. The end result of this fasting is my thoughts turn to God many times that day; being so very appreciative of my family, my church, and the abundant blessings that have been bestowed on me.
It’s good to be thirsty for these six Mondays in Lent.
Art by Benjamin Kerns