I woke up this morning remembering it was Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. It has been quite a long time since I visited a Catholic Church for a Mass. Other than attending weddings or funerals I have not felt a need or pull to go. But for some reason this morning I felt very guided that I was supposed to go. Although the weather was less than welcoming I decided to walk to church. I could use the fresh air and it was only about a 20 minute trek. As I walked, I began to remember how my brother and I used to walk to church together as children. Funny, I had not thought about that for a long time. My brother passed almost two years ago and memories of he and I as children have come up at the oddest times. Before I knew I was walking into church and surprised by how full it was. I found a seat and sat down. The old rituals of being there countless times returned to me as if I had just been there yesterday and when it was my turn I went up and got ashes on my forehead. “Ashes to ashes”, the priest said and with all I have experienced in the past few years these words took on a powerful meaning.
An elderly priest took the pulpit and read the gospel. After that he began his sermon and to be honest I was prepared to be bored. After all it was the first day of Lent and I was sure I was going to hear about all of our sins, repentance, and the denial we should live by for the next 40 days. But instead as he spoke I realized this was why I was here. To hear this sermon. When he finished he told us it would be available for us to take along and I am sharing it here with you. I feel it is significant for so many reasons. I trust you will enjoy it as much as I did.
Fast from judging others; Feast on Christ dwelling in them.
Fast from differences; Feast on the unity of all life.
Fast from living in the dark; Feast on the reality of the Light.
Fast from thoughts of sickness; Feast on the healing power of God.
Fast from words that pollute; Feast on the phrases that purify.
Fast from discontent; feast on patience.
Fast from pessimism; Feast on optimism.
Fast from worry; Feast on God’s providence.
Fast from complaining; Feast on appreciation.
Fast from negativity; Feast on the positive.
Fast from stress; Feast on prayer.
Fast from hostility; Feast on cooperation.
Fast from self-concern. Feast on compassion.
Fast from anxiety; Feast on eternal truth.
Fast from discouragement; Feast on hope.
Fast from depression; Feast on delight.
Fast from laziness; Feast on enthusiasm.
Fast from suspicion; Feast on trust.
Fast from weakness; Feast on inspiration.
Fast from sorrow; Feast on contentment.
Fast from gossip; Feast on complimenting.
Fast form overwhelming problems; Feast on the Spirit.