Fr. Astor Rodriquez blogs… When are bodies are aching, when they’re suffering any malady, we usually take whatever measure is needed to get better. Aspirin, pain killers, flu shots, Vick’s vapor rub, orange juice, vitamins, etc. Other the hand, sometimes I wonder if they even invent medicines before there is actually a sickness. RLS – restless leg sickness – I never stood still as a child. Of course, I don’t want offend anyone who suffers this illness.
My whole desire is to see what we are really doing when our soul is ill? What measures can we take to bring our souls back to tip top shape? The Church suggests three tools: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. But even before that I think it is important to recognize and claim the need, or to admit that all is not well. Something is wrong with our compass, and we can’t find our way home without (great) difficulty. This doesn’t mean that we’re truly lost, that there’s no hope. It simply means that we have to do whatever possible to get back on track.
There are moments when by just taking a moment to breathe, retrace the steps, it might just be enough. But there are times that more is needed. Each one of us has to see and decide where we stand and what is needed, and even decide to bring in a good soul to help us.
The three tools that we can use are just that, utensils to help us recognize God’s love for us and help us carry out our mission for others and ourselves. All together.
- Prayer: a sincere offering, a dialogue with the the Almighty. Confident, transparent, lovingly, never afraid to bring what we are and aren’t. Knowing that it is a blessed moment to be in.
- Sacrifice: not for others to see, but in truth for others to feel. We give up not to burden others or ourselves, and certainly not to stop our growing faith process. It should be life giving to whole being.
- Almsgiving: let us offer not just what we possess and what is left over, scraps from the table. Let us give of what truly makes us, the greatest thing we could give is ourselves.
Well I didn’t want to give a discourse, we’re entering our third week of Lent, I just wanted to share where my thoughts have taken me this year. I hope that it may be a journey of life for all us followers of Christ. For as we continue to deepen the living of our treasure, we can also bring others to see, live and discover the Greatness of God.
“It is not enough for me to know God if my neighbor does not know Him”
Saint Vincent de Paul
To the utensils of prayer, fasting, and alms giving, I would add three more: the hearing of the Word of God; the sacrament of the Eucharist; and the sacrament of Penance.
The Word of God is the presence of Jesus readily available to us, whether we read it, remember it, or reflect on it. The celebration/reception of the Eucharist, as the Council of Trent authoritatively teaches, forgives daily sins. It reminds us that God accepts us, as the beautiful hymn says, “Just as I am,” and that the sacrament is not a reward for the successful, but what God offers to the humble. The sacrament of Penance serves us when we know that we need forgiveness–not just when our sins are mortal, but when the sense of sin gets overwhelming. These six means of the Christian life, normal for the year round, are still more important when we live with the elect the last weeks before their Christian initiation, when we turn away from sin to believe in the Gospel, or we reflect on how finite and limited human life is.