It’s been two days since Lent concluded. I have to say I’m missing the sacrifice. When I removed myself from the distraction that comes with living in the fast paced world of social media, internet, and just general sensory overload I missed it for about a week. On day eight I started to really focus on what I was saying when I prayed. I offered intentions for people who needed (and still need) it most. I sat in front of the Blessed Sacrament a few times too. During all this I can’t say I heard God definitively speak to me but I understood what He was saying. I know that sentence contradicts itself but if you’ve experienced it for yourself you get what it means.
In addition to this, I felt a connection to the Body of Christ, the Church. I felt her suffering when Pope Benedict resigned and unspeakable hatred flooded the airwaves. I felt her joy when a new pope was elected. I felt the Hand of God comfort the sick and burdened whom I prayed for.
I haven’t particularly felt such a connection within my faith in a number of years and certainly not as an adult. Denying myself these vices and dedicating time each day to pray intently allowed me to see what really matters in life in a whole new light. I’ve said before that life is about sharing yourself with others but this Lent showed me that there’s an infinite number of ways to apply that. Further more, we don’t always have to do something of a corporal nature to share ourselves.
Now that Lent is over I find myself removed from these comforts. I am tempted to fall back into my old rituals and habits of doing my own will instead of God’s. Reflecting on this I feel like I have a choice to keep the sacrifice of Lent going and I want to because I know that deciding to fulfill my own will always leads me to the same place. A place that cannot fulfill my own or anyone else’s desire to know Truth.
I hope…no I pray I choose not to be selfish.
“What the heck are we doing here?”
An age old question indeed. I write about it today because of an article I read which published the findings of a survey asking people of all demographics what their religious affiliation was, if any at all. Not surprisingly the number of people who responded as “none” is at the highest it’s ever been since such data started being collected.
I say not surprisingly because I happen to pay attention to the news sources in the US which report on religious issues brought into public debate. More and more these stories follow the same model of a religious person/organization facing off against an atheist/non-religious person/organization. You see them more frequently during the widely observed holidays like Christmas and Easter but there’s a steady flow of them throughout the year. The non-religious groups tend to file the complaint against the religious for publicly displaying symbols of their faith or attempting to bring the any idea of religion into a publicly funded school, etc.
What the survey didn’t ask was why are people settling on “none” as a response to the question now more than they have in the past? With the way that we function as a human race today, what thing or things has made us decide to shift our beliefs away from religion into our own personal set or into believing nothing religious at all? When did being religious become so unappealing?
There’s any number of reasons why. Collectively I feel that those who are religious (that would include me) have forgotten how to look outside of ourselves. We’ve become victims of narcissism and we stopped putting the well-being of our neighbor before our own. This compassion used to set us apart from the masses. It showed others who didn’t believe or had never been told that there is someone who cares about them and will help them through this beautiful struggle called life. When we stopped doing that we lost our appeal. We stopped following the law of “Do unto others as you would have done to you.”
I invoke all who read this now to change this in your world. Religious and non-religious, take courage and follow this law as best as you can. Put others’ well-being in front of your own and you will start to see the world transform into the beautiful place we all seek and wish it to be.