Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Lentil Soup and Lenten Thoughts

I've never been great at fasting. And my mind wanders when I pray. I have great intentions about giving to the poor. But sometimes I don't even follow through on that.

I need the help of the Church....

I need the great movement of the Body of Christ behind me and with me and in front of me when I enter Lent.

...because I'm pretty weak.

I've been thinking about Esau today - not the typical Old Testament character that comes to mind on the first day of Lent.  I keep thinking about Esau's weakness. He sold his birthright for a bowl of soup. (We eat a lot of lentil soup around our house during Lent, so maybe that's what triggered my memory.) Anyway, Esau was willing to give up what was his for a short-lived answer to a temporal need.

As Catholics, we have a birthright. From the moment of our baptism, we belong to God. We can choose to hang on to that birthright, or we can sell it for a short-lived filling of a temporal need.

It's the greatest weakness of American Catholics.

I want ABC so I will compromise on XYZ.

We choose our lentil soup over the birthright.

Artificial contraception.
Sterilization.
In vitro fertilization.
Gay lifestyle.

Maybe that "soup" doesn't tempt you.

Gossip.
Greed.
Popularity.

Still not your choice of soup?

Laziness.
Bitterness.
Despair.

We are all like Esau when we exchange a momentary thrill for the eternal reward. We are all like Esau when we choose evil - or even that which is merely banal - at the expense of the divine.

On days like today, Ash Wednesday, we learn how to choose well. There will be no selling out for a measly bowl of soup - or even an enticing lifestyle with its momentary thrills.

Nothing is worth more than this birthright.

Nothing.

For we are dust, and to dust we will return. But what is eternal will last forever. Lentil soup? Not so much.

Lenten renewal? Absolutely
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