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Ash Wednesday

posted Feb 15, 2018, 5:09 PM by Carmina Chapp
A blessed Ash Wednesday to everyone! Lent is a time to take serious stock of where we are spiritually. I know that sounds trite and cliche, but Catholics in our culture (myself included) have lost a little of our penitential discipline and often have the best of intentions at the start of Lent, only to see them die on the vine as we grow weary of the effort. I was reminded of this last week when I was visiting with a friend who is an Eastern rite Catholic and l listened to her describe the "Great Fast" that her communion practices. I won't go into details... but yikes. It put me to shame. But Christ spent 40 days and nights in the desert fasting and praying, and if he needed this, in his perfect and sinless humanity, how much more do we need it! The disciple is not greater than the Master.

That is not to say that we should be penitential just so we can prove how spiritually "disciplined" we are. That kind of "white knuckled" penance is actually, I think, a form of pride. No, the point of penance is to reprioritize our inner self, making sure that our spiritual side takes precedence and our bodily appetites (good in themselves) are put again in their proper place, and our disordered emotions (pride, anger, jealousy, greed, and so on) are chastened. I am in constant need of this reprioritizing myself, since my love for creature comforts is second to none, and I often feel "cheated" and grow impatient and upset if I don't get those comforts as my "reward" for working hard. Which I don't. lol. And my emotions ... well, let's just say I can be "difficult".

Peter Maurin and Dorothy Day lived lives of voluntary poverty and devoted themselves to the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. So we here on the farm (Carrie, myself, and Carrie's brother Hank) will be doing our best this Lent to imitate their example. We try to follow their example all the time of course (we are a Catholic Worker Farm after all!), but in the hubbub of day to day living, we often fail. So we are all looking forward to this Lent as a time to really center ourselves again on the only thing that matters: the imitation of Christ.

Peace to all!