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Do You Need to Starve a Little?

penance

Sarah (Rosenau) Korf via Compfight

Here’s a challenging reflection on Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent by Kurt Willems. He notes that Lent is a season where we choose to starve ourselves of our little idols in order to join Jesus in the desert, and he lists several benefits of this particular kind of starving. Are you observing Lent this year? This article will help to orient you on the work you’re doing in your soul.

From the blog:

This particular season, Lent, is a time to enter into the dark places within our souls. We are invited to allow the Holy Spirit to search us and to know our hearts. We call attention to the things that bind us up from living out the reality of the Kingdom of God and attempt to starve them. In a nation of affluence and values that often corrupts the beauty of the cross, sometimes our gluttonous lives need to have a time to experience a hint of starvation. For some this is literal (those who fast from food during Lent) and for others this is metaphorical (those who starve their subtle idols). Here, Robert Webber offers more insight:

We too easily forget our Maker and Redeemer; replacing God with things and ambition. Lent is the season that does something about this situation. It calls us back to God, back to the basics, back to the spiritual realities of life. It calls us to put to death the sin and the indifference we have in our hearts toward God and our fellow persons. And it beckons us to enter once again into the joy of the Lord–the joy of a new life born out of a death to the old life. That is what Ash Wednesday is all about–the fundamental change of life required of those who would die with Jesus and be raised to a new life in him.

My default, often influenced by my American affluence, is to abstractly believe in “the fundamental change of life required of those who would die with Jesus and be raised to new life in him,” but to concretely reach for comfort. Ash Wednesday is a chance to confront these sorts of tendencies—to starve them.

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