Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
ASH WEDNESDAY! Lent is here! Are you still opening Christmas cards? I’ve opened mine, and I’m deciding to reread one each day and pray for the person who sent it. It will be a little extra effort for Lent. Speaking of which...

Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are obligatory days of fasting and abstinence for Catholics. In addition, Fridays during Lent are obligatory days of abstinence.

The norms on fasting are obligatory from age 18 until age 59. When fasting, a person is permitted to eat one full meal, as well as two smaller meals that together are not equal to a full meal. The norms concerning abstinence from meat are binding from age 14 onwards.

These are the regulations. Don’t ask me what “until 59” means. Maybe it’s your 59th birthday, or maybe it means your 60th. But since that question is irrelevant to many of us, my advice to those of you hovering around 59: make a choice you think the Lord would like. No pressure!

I want to recommend an article for those of you who are surfing the internet. Go to USCCB. Open the site and in the search box put “Rev. Daniel Merz.” You’ll see a series of articles. Click on “A Reflection on Fasting.” I enjoyed it because it really put me in the mental framework of asking myself about my attitude toward Lent. Do I seriously see this time as a call to prepare to celebrate the greatest mystery in our faith lives: the Passion, Death and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ? I capitalize because these mysteries are what it’s all about.

Sometimes we get a little casual about things we have experienced before. Do we really expect anything new other than maybe the altar decorations?... if that?
This Twitching will be, I suspect, an examination of conscience for me, as so often I feel they have been in the past. I thank God that I must sit down to “twitch” because I have the suspicion that if I didn’t, I might not think about some things at all.

For example, March 17th hits on a Friday this year. Please do not ask me for a “dispensation” to eat corned beef. I mean it! I would expect by our ages each of us would have enough spiritual maturity to be able to make the decision for ourselves. Sometimes people don’t want to be out of step with other people and feel the need to “go along.” But that’s not spiritual maturity. I think for myself, I’m going to get a good piece of corned beef and cook it on the feast of St. Joseph on Sunday the 19th.

I’m going to steal the ending of Father Merz’s article in the hope that you’ll catch the makings of a good attitude for yourselves. I’m also grateful for the many of you who DO know what he’s talking about and give me a great example.

Christian tradition can name at least seven reasons for fasting:
From the beginning, God commanded some fasting, and sin entered into the world because Adam and Eve broke the fast.
For the Christian, fasting is ultimately about fasting from sin.
Fasting reveals our dependence on God and not the resources of this world.
Fasting is an ancient way of preparing for the Eucharist — the truest of foods.
Fasting is preparation for baptism (and all the sacraments) — for the reception of grace.
Fasting is a means of saving resources to give to the poor. (Rice Bowls!!!)
Fasting is a means of self-discipline, chastity, and the restraining of the appetites.

Have a wonderful Lenten journey. May we be good company for each other.
In Jesus,
sign frjim

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