“HEREFORE, if you be risen with Christ, seek the things that are above; where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God: 2 Mind the things that are above, not the things that are upon the earth. 3 For you are dead; and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4 When Christ shall appear, who is your life, then you also shall appear with him in glory. 5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, lust, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is the service of idols. 6 For which things the wrath of God cometh upon the children of unbelief, 7 In which you also walked some time, when you lived in them. 8 But now put you also all away: anger, indignation, malice, blasphemy, filthy speech out of your mouth. 9 Lie not one to another: stripping yourselves of the old man with his deeds, 10 And putting on the new, him who is renewed unto knowledge, according to the image of him that created him.” — Colossians 3
I’m not a particularly “hardcore” observer of Lent, but I am always open to methods for deepening the experience in a traditional (i.e. sustainable) way. I missed Shrove Tuesday this year, though it was only the first year I had any consciousness of the rite. If some people go nuts with booze on Mardi Gras, I’ve been going gaga with sleep the last couple days. I am still on a “bulking” phase in my fitness regimen, arguably a dubious Lenten practice, but I will be done with it by March 18.
One must not, however, merely starve the body, but must also feed the heart, the living soul. As such, I recommend you choose some wholesome, and perhaps uncharted, spiritual reading this season. I will be reading St. Francis de Sales’ Introduction to the Devout Life, and Fr. Gabriel’s Divine Intimacy as a daily meditation. I shall never cease to give thanks for a benefactor’s recent generosity of a pristine copy of Divine Intimacy. Surely the best thanks is to use it!
While I enjoy picking through traditional ascetical books–such as The Sinner’s Guide, Hell, Heliotropium, and The Spiritual Combat–I am inclined to read the Compendium of Social Doctrine of the Church. Yet, I mustn’t, characteristically, bite off more than I can chew. (I’ve also got some apostolic research obligations which I must honor.) Hence, without pledging one more over-full bite, I may also try to make more progress in Self-Abandonment to Divine Providence, the main text of which took me years to finish. I don’t know why, though I like to say that I was savoring each page. Perhaps it’s best to call my reading of it “Abandonment of ‘Abandonment‘”.
As I mortify my members and nourish my soul, the
Scared Sacred Heart shall hold a central place for me this Lent. Thanks to Fr. Blake, I think gruel would be just the filler along the way. Lenten gruel. The very idea is penitential enough to singe the eyebrows off any non-Catholic bystander.
Feel free to comment on your own Lenten practices, readings, and favorite gruel recipes.