Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
How goes your Prayer, your Fasting, your Almsgiving... the PFA Challenge?

I’m trying, but I need to sharpen my approach. Halfway through Lent I’m afraid I’m doing a half-hearted job. One good thing is that having to write this Twitch definitely refocuses me. Thank you, Lord, for the task. I will try harder!

Now that I’ve told you, I’m stuck with having to be more accountable, so feel free to ask me anytime how I’m shaping up... spiritually, not physically. If I smile (behind the mask) you’ll know I found something to help my make-over. If I snarl (behind the mask) you’ll know I need to sharpen by efforts.

Accountability is a wonderful thing – for everyone else.

What bothers me right now is that I’m good at feeding the Rice Bowl, but I realize that just putting money in the slot is much too easy.

Fasting is supposed to “mortify” the senses, in other words, stepping back from things that I normally enjoy so I can focus. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying things, but sometimes we can get so preoccupied with the fun stuff that we fail to look at harder issues.

Fasting from television could be a good thing to help redirect my attention. Most of the time, I’m listening to one reporter after another repeating the same news stories. It reminds me of the old adage, “Everything has been said, but not everyone has said it.” Fortunately, I can fall back on my taped broadcasts of “Star Trek: Next Generation.” Piccard and I have a least one thing in common.

What makes me sit up and helps me be more proactive about my existence, rather than getting a Ph.D. in couch-potatoing?

After hearing the scriptures at Mass for this weekend, we have much to think about. Chronicles crams Israel’s unfaithfulness into a few verses, and then Cyrus, the Persian, a foreigner, comes to Israel’s rescue. God forbid that those verses make us think that we can mess up and God is right there behind us, cleaning up. If you turned around and really saw Him, you’d find that the broom He is using is a Cross with His Son nailed to it. I don’t want to be making those messes.

And... the ‘mess’ I’m thinking about is more like a black hole than a garbage heap. The black hole is my symbol for omission.

Do you notice the order that our three PFA Challenge words come in? It says to me that if I don’t begin thinking about Lenten practice with prayer, I’m probably wasting my time. It’s the prayer that helps focus. Fasting asks me to look at my intake on all levels and see what can help keep me focused. Almsgiving and all the other things I can “give” is the outflow of prayerful reprioritizing. That makes sense to me. I hope it does for you.

Last Monday I made a rare journey to my old parish to give the talk for the first night of their Mission. I had wonderful ideas. I really prayed about them too. But I’m not sure it made sense. That’s why I always pray before my homily that God will help me preach and that we can hear what he’s saying whether I say it or not. It’s not a copout for bad prep. It’s a hope that the God who is the only One to make sense out of anything, is with us. Ask Him now for vision. Happy Midway Lent!

In Jesus,
sign frjim

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