When we began our Lenten Journey, we talked about using this liturgical season to do three things:
- Pray a little more: to spend more time with God in the depths of our hearts.
- Help others a little more: especially those who are in real need.
- Fast a little: to give up (or fast from) something.
The purpose of engaging in these three things is so that, during our 40-day spiritual journey, we:
- meet Christ within, as we focus on more prayer
- meet Christ in others, as we focus on helping others
- act as Christ, as we grow in our ability to make free choices.
Most people seem to understand how praying more and being of service to others more helps us progress in our journey to God. But how does fasting help us? Perhaps you noticed that you “ached” a little when you “did without” that to which you are attached. In feeling the ache of not having, the hope is that we become more aware of our deepest longing—which is God.
In addition, in the process of not always reacting to the ache/want/desire, we are growing in our spiritual capacity to act with freedom. Not to be enslaved by our attachments allows us to grow in our ability to CHOOSE to act lovingly (regardless of circumstances) as did our model, Jesus, the Christ.
This choice to act lovingly is acted out in the ritual of Holy Thursday’s washing of the feet. It is a reminder and a model for our lives. We, as Christ-Bearers, as Christ-followers, are meant to wash each other’s feet!
Sometimes this is not easy to do. The choice to open one’s heart, hands and arms is a choice that may cause us pain. But regardless of the cost, we are still invited to be followers of Christ with, through and in our choices and our actions. We don’t just skip to Easter Sunday without the process of Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
May we live in each one as a step in our ongoing journey to God: the gift and invitation of Holy Thursday, the pain of Good Friday, the emptiness of Holy Saturday and, finally, the fullness of Joy on Easter Sunday!
—Sr. Glavin, rscj