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Love alone can unite living beings so as to complete and
fulfill them… for it alone joins them by what is deepest in
themselves. All we need is to imagine our ability to love developing
until it embraces the totality of men and the earth.

–Pierre Teilhard De Chardin

How is Lent about practicing love?  Lent is for me, among other things, about learning to love God and neighbor more and more.  Intentional practices, traditional practices, new practices – all can help one grow in relationship to God and to the person one has been created to become.  This year’s Lenten theme for me: Giving Up, Giving In, and Giving Over.

Giving Up

SugarEach year at Lent, I practice the giving up of sugar (real and artificial).  This year, as I’ve grown in understanding sugar-addiction, I continue this practice.  It’s not about the "giving up" in the traditionally practice way, however, (though that is a part of it,) it’s about a practice that helps me learn about myself and my relationship to a substance that I use, sometimes, to drown out my feelings. 

So, it’s about feeling.  Or about having them and recognizing that I am having them.  When I’m stifling them, I’m not present to the movement of the Spirit in the most helpful way.  And the first few days, the first week, of Lent is always a challenge because, even though every year I hope to be off sugar for good, it somehow has crept, sauntered, or like this year, barrelled back into my life and my bloodstream.  So, it’s a bit like withdrawal for me.  And my annual plunge to despair can be hard to take.  This year I am more aware of this potential than I was last year.  So, I’m hoping to be attentive to it in a new and perhaps more healthy way.

For me, happiness came from prayer to a kindly God, faith in
a kindly God, love for my fellow man, and doing the very best I could every day
of my life. I had looked for happiness in fast living, but it was not there. I
tried to find it in money, but it was not there, either. But when I placed
myself in tune with what I believe to be fundamental truths of life, when I
began to develop my limited ability, to rid my mind of all kinds of tangled
thoughts, and fill it with zeal and courage and love, when I gave myself a
chance by treating myself decently and sensibly I began to feel the
stimulating, warm glow of happiness, and life for me began to flow like a
stream between smooth banks. 

Andrew Young  (Scottish
schoolmaster & poet, wrote The Scottish Highland & Other Poems,
1876 )

Stay tuned for Giving In and Giving Over


March 2006
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