IT’S GOOD TO REMIND OURSELVES
OF OUR FLAWS AND FAILINGS
I have to confess that there are certain Catholic pious practices I don’t entirely get.
It probably reflects the fact that I’m an adult convert and wasn’t raised in the Church — or that I’ve made less progress on my spiritual journey than I like to assume.
One of the things I don’t get is fasting.
As I understand it, the Church advocates self-denial as a way of detaching ourselves from fleshly preoccupations. Yet I’m never more preoccupied with concerns of the flesh (that is to say, eating) than when I deny myself food.
Now admittedly, my self-denial is of limited duration — Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and such selected occasions — so perhaps it’s a matter of not persisting long enough to build spiritual stamina.
I once knew a fellow who abstained from food entirely every Wednesday and Friday, and he was a veritable saint. Of course, the question presents itself:
Did maintaining this discipline make him virtuous, or did some fundamental saintly character give him the spiritual strength to perform such feats of devotional athleticism?
Another thing I don’t get is the remarkable appeal of Ash Wednesday.