Reflections from Fr. Dennis
“If God is for us, who is against us?”
Preparing ourselves for death is the most important task of life; at least we believe that death is not the total dissolution of our identity but the way to its fullest revelation. Death, as Jesus speaks about it, is that moment in which total defeat and total victory are one. The cross on which Jesus died is the sign of this oneness of defeat and victory. Jesus speaks about his death as being “lifted up.” Lifted up on the cross as well as lifted up in the resurrection. Jesus wants our death to be like his, a death in which the world banishes us but God welcomes us home.
How then, do we prepare ourselves for death? By living each day in the full awareness of being a child of God, whose love is stronger than death. Speculation and concerns about the final days of our life are useless, but making each day into a celebration of our belovedness as sons and daughters of God will allow us to live our final days, whether short or long, as birthing days. The pains of dying are labor pains. Through them, we leave the womb of this world and are born to the fullness of the children of God.
Lent should be more than a time for fasting. It should also be a joyous season of feasting. Lent is a time to fast from certain things and to feast on others. It is a season in which we should:
Fast from judging others; feast on the Christ within them.
Fast from emphasis on differences; feast on the unity of life.
Fast from apparent darkness; feast on the reality of light.
Fast from thoughts of illness; feast on the healing power of God.
Fast from words that pollute; feast on phrases that purify.
Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude.
Fast from anger; feast on patience.
Fast from pessimism; feast on optimism.
Fast from worry; feast on divine order and trust in God.
Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation.
Fast from negatives; feast on affirmatives.
Fast from unrelenting pressures; feast on unceasing prayer.
Fast from hostility; feast on nonresistance.
Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others.
Fast from personal anxiety; feast on eternal truth.
Fast from discouragement; feast on hope.
Fast from facts that depress; feast on verities that uplift.
Fast from lethargy; feast on enthusiasm.
Fast from suspicion; feast on truth.
Fast from thoughts that weaken; feast on promises that inspire.
Fast from shadows of sorrow; feast on the sunlight of serenity.
Fast from idle gossip; feast on purposeful silence.
Fast from problems that overwhelm; feast on prayer that under girds.