Not just “like” a spiritual journey

Not just “like” a spiritual journey

To mark Ash Wednesday yesterday, our local paper included a large article on Lent in the feature section, which is pretty good in and of itself. They interviewed both Catholics and Protestants to see how the observe the season, but I’m not quite sure everybody gets it.

For one thing, the Catholic priest they interview misses the point of fasting: “The practice of fasting, he said, can also go beyond food to perhaps include a “fasting” from uncharitable thoughts or bad language.” I’m sorry, but fasting is when you give up something good as a sacrifice, not something you already shouldn’t be doing. You don’t fast from sin. Even things that aren’t sin, but still aren’t really good for you are probably not worthy objects of fasting. Lenten fasts are not supposed to be self-improvement workshops: “40 Days to a Smoke-Free You!” The fast, as worthily explained by one of our parish priests yesterday, is an opportunity to practice self-denial of a good, in order to gain mastery over our appetites and passions.

Interestingly, it’s the Congregationalist minister who recognizes that point.

“Is it a difficult thing that requires discipline or are you giving up something to lose weight, which can be looked at as pious?” she questioned. It’s time to look at our motivation.”

Unfortunately, I think she misses the point in others ways.

“If you look at Lent, it’s almost a minispiritual journey through life,” she said.

It’s not just almost a spiritual journey, and not just a em; it’s an actual spiritual journey through life. It’s funny how people today often describe things in metaphors and similes, i.e. “like” things, when they are in fact that thing. For example, “This beer is almost intoxicating.” No, in fact, it is.

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Domenico Bettinelli