In fact, he’d dearly love to become more of a hermit if possible and be the turtle that draws into his shell and stays there–only peeking out from time to time to nibble a lettuce leaf.
The trick to a happy Lent is to see it as a chance to make spiritual progress, clean house, get fit, run the race and come through to the other side one step close to heaven.
This is the reason for the holy season: the fasting, prayer and self denial are not an end in themselves, but a means to an end.
They are like the scales the piano student practices. They are the exercises of the athlete and the sketches the artist makes to hone his talent.
Ash Wednesday is the kick off for these days and I am of the opinion that he more austere we keep our Lent the better.
This is not because physical things are bad and we must punish ourselves, but because we are disciplining our appetites. If we cannot control our stomach, our need for sexual pleasure, our need for alcohol, our need for sleep which are visible things, then why do we suppose that we can control our emotions, our will and our soul which are invisible?
We are body-mind-spirit hybrids and therefore what we do with our body affects our mind and spirit. What we do with our spirit affects our body and mind. What we do with our mind affects our body and spirit.
We are little Trinities–and we should aspire to become Holy Trinities–and “holy” means “whole” or “perfect” or “integrated” or perfectly whole and integrated.
So join me in this annual quest up the holy mountain…
…and be joyful!