Judy has often told the story of her dad taking the family out to eat at a local cafeteria. The kids would fill their plates with all kinds of foods and goodies, while her dad would not get anything…just an empty plate. He would then eat all the food that the kids didn’t eat…finishing their meal. Their “eyes were bigger than their appetite. The only thing he would get for himself was the tail of the chicken …”the last part over the fence”. (Details in a future BLOG.)
Well here we are in the first full week of Lent, and my tendency is to “bite off more than I can chew”…. “my eyes being bigger than my appetite”. I especially have to be careful in my plan to read spiritual books. I like to read, but I tend to “read less than I acquire”…so my book stack continues to grow.
The other day, we were spending some time before the Blessed Sacrament at the Rosary Shrine in Summit; it’s a beautiful and peaceful atmosphere, very conducive to prayer. Afterwards, we decided to pop into their bookstore… just to look….hmmmmm. My eye caught the title of a book, “THE ART OF DYING WELL”, by St. Robert Bellarmine….woe, let me just take a peek. St. Robert’s general rule jumped out, “He who lives well will die well”. Being in the 4th quarter of my life, maybe in the “2 Minute Warning”, I needed to get that book. I needed to read that book during Lent.
Well I started reading the book, but need to squeeze it in between another book I just received from a friend…”Prison Journal” by Cardinal Pell which is also very compelling reading. Did I mention the two Cardinal Sarah books I’m almost finished with, but not quite. Oh yes, Judy and I just began “Reading The Bible In A Year” with Fr. Mike Schmitz. I’m embarrassed to tell you there’s more on my list. Sometimes I wonder why I feel “ Behind the 8 Ball”.
Is there a point to this BLOG…a lesson to pass on? I think it may be that we need to “keep first things first … more is not always more …. or better”. The gold standard for LENTEN practices is “Pray, Fast, And Give Alms”. And the measuring rod for any practice should be does it help me to grow in my love of God and my neighbor.
So where does it leave me in this first week of Lent? I am retired and have more time to devote to trying to love and serve the Lord. But I need to honestly ask “are my practices bearing good fruit….. “am I loving more ?” All our Lenten practices may look different depending on our state in life and circumstances of health and job and temperament, etc. But the bottom line is that we should ultimately be loving God more and loving one another more as Lent progresses.
Wait, what’s that I hear…..”Oh, David, would you please take out the garbage…hmmmm…. oh certainly my dear, here I come…anything else I can do.”
Ah, “he who lives well, dies well”.