Sunday, March 13, 2011

Membership

Taken from C.S. Lewis' address on membership, talking of the modern man (makes me think of Facebook and the vastness of social networking.):

He lives in a crowd; caucus has replaced friendship. And this tendency not only exists both within and without the university, but is often approved. There is a crowd of busybodies, self-appointed masters of ceremonies, whose life is devoted to destroying solitude wherever solitude still exists. They call it "taking the young people out of themselves," or "waking them up," or "overcoming their apathy." If an Augustine, a Vaughan, a Traherne, or a Wordsworth should be born in the modern world, the leaders of a youth organization would soon cure him.

We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and privacy, and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship.
That religion should be relegated to solitude in such an age is, then, paradoxical. But is is also dangerous for two reasons. In the first place, when the modern world says to us aloud, "You may be religious when you are alone," it adds under its breath, " and I will see to it you never are alone." To make Christianity a private affair while banishing all privacy is to relegate it to the rainbow's end or the Greek calends. This is one of the enemy's stratagems. In the second place, there is the danger that real Christians who know that Christianity is not a solitary affair may react against that error by simply transporting into our spiritual life that same collectivism which has already conquered our secular life. That is the enemy's other stratagem.


The Lenten Season

As I'm sure some of you know, we are in the "season of Lent". The 40 day fast before Easter (read Matthew 4). Now we Westerners have it easy, we have made Sundays off-days, we eat meat, and basically do whatever we want just saying we'll give up one thing. Look back a century. They gave up all things derived from the flesh (i.e. eggs, cheese, milk, meat...) and ate one meal a day; but farmers were looking a bit dazed and confused a few days in so fish was added on Fridays and meat later on. And they still stuck to it! I want to encourage you to do the same. Deny yourself something and really stick to it.

We don't feel the need to give up anything. Why fast and pray? Because when you are in want is when you start asking. Talk to God. Lent (the intro to Srping) is our ersatz fast. We're so Blessed that we have to put ourselves in this situation of giving up. It is a good reminder to look to Christ. Give something up that you want every day, and when you want that thing think of someone you can pray for instead. Ask God for strength, and substitute prayer for this earthly desire. Take this time (a mere 40 days) to reflect on what Jesus has done for you and why you need to do for others. This is a small comparison in my mind when you think of what God has given us. We have the Resurrection to look forward to!

Although the practices may have evolved over the centuries, the focus remains the same: to repent of sin, to renew our faith and to prepare to celebrate joyfully the mysteries of our salvation.

Here's a good quote for ya:

"If you gave something up for the Lord, tough it out. Don't act like a Pharisee looking for a loophole."

http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/religion/re0527.html

"You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve." Matthew 4:10