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Fasting for Lent.

Let us return to the notion of fasting during the Lenten season. Whether you have chosen to give something up or not, it is good to consider the purpose of fasting which as I mentioned previously is really about remembering our divine nature, shifting our selfhood to where our stable identity lies, and stepping into the post we are meant to hold (whatever that may be unique to each one of us). I still hear so many people speak of what they are giving up for Lent from a place of automaticity that seems somewhat hollow and habitual, disconnected from the meaning behind the practice. We do not give up something simply for the sake of the ritual. We give up something and engage the ritual to signify what is taking place inwardly. That is what ritual is all about. When we choose to fast, we want to consider fasting from that which we know has become too important to us in a way that brings us out of balance and that in someway keeps us satiated from ultimately unsatisfying food. We become undernourished, yet full. What is it that you find yourself feeding on? And I don't necessarily mean food. You might consider anything that you take in or consume (material items, information, images, etc). It could also be anything that you gain from withholding from yourself (pride, spiritual materialism or narcissism, etc.). The invitation is simply not to go on autopilot when you consider the practice of fasting through Lent and it is not too late to shift what you decide to give up. Lenten Love and Blessings, Heather


From this week's Pauses: Monday with Lacey: “Mystical Hope... It has something to do with presence — not a future good outcome, but the immediate experience of being met, held in communion by something immediately at hand. This means that it is relational. It seems to do its work by reconnecting us to a greater field of belonging which we had forgotten about. When Jesus states in John 14:2 “In my father’s house are many mansions,” he is referring to these realms [of exchange and mutual sharing, more subtle than our own], almost as if the full gamut of divine love, like a massive pipe organ, demands all these additional octaves to fully reveal the full beauty of its music. As I would now put it, hope is an imaginal force. It has its roots in the realm just beyond and surrounding our own, a full degree more vibrant and engendering. From there it floods into our own earth plane as a vivifying force, equipping us to live by its own higher laws, which are both freer and more counterintuitive than the stolid logic of our own world. It’s what empowers us to truly live Jesus’s dictum “in the world but not of it,” and in so doing, to become the conscious vessels of his continued vivifying presence in this world. — Cynthia Bourgeault, Mystical Hope Today E-Course, Session 4 Email Tuesday “The ultimate reality that is known in contemplative experience and in unitive wisdom has been called simply the center. It is the metaphysical center of all reality and also the center of the human person. Corresponding to the presence of this reality at the center of the human person is a unitive Self: atman, true self, Christ-self. This is the human person fully participating in the unitive divine Source; it is, therefore, being-in-communication, the person as essentially relational. This unitive reality, as the center of the person, is also the ground of human consciousness. Human consciousness and all of its operations are grounded in a unitive participation in the absolute divine Reality.” — Bruno Barnhart, Second Simplicity, p. 24 Wednesday “Stand still in that which is pure, after ye see yourselves, and then mercy comes in. After thou seest thy thoughts and temptations, do not think, but submit, and then power comes in. Stand still in that which shows and discovers, and there doth strength immediately come. And stand still in the light, and submit to it, and the other will be hushed and gone, and then contentment comes.” — George Fox, 1652 put to chant by Paulette Meier Friday: “ Each succeeding year, Lent calls each of us to renew our ongoing commitment to the implications of the Resurrection in our own lives, here and now. But that demands both the healing of the soul and the honing of the soul, both penance and faith, both a purging of what is superfluous in our lives and the heightening, the intensifying, of what is meaningful. . . Lent is one f those elements of Christian practice that binds the Christian community to one another and to its beginnings. It ties us to the core of us that is not transient, that is not changing, that does not fail us. Lent gives the lie to isolation. We are not alone, We walk with the church throughout the world on this journey to renewal., We walk, too, with the One who has gone before us to bring us home again. Lent is one of those elements of Christian practice that binds the Christian community to one another and to its beginnings.” — Joan Chittister, The Liturgical Year, p. 110-111, 117 Saturday: “Indeed, Lent, we learn on Ash Wednesday, is not about abnegation, about denying ourselves for the sake of denying ourselves. It is about much more than that. It is about opening our hearts one more time to the Word of God in that hope that, this time, hearing it anew, we might allow ourselves to become new as a result of it. It is the call to prayer, to liturgy, to the co-creation of the world. It is about our rising to the full stature of human reflection and, as a result, accepting the challenge to become fully alive, fully human rather than simply...self-centeredly human.” — Joan Chittister, The Liturgical Year, p. 118 -119 Sunday with Catherine: “Rend Your Heart” To receive this blessing, All you have to do Is let your heart break. Let it crack open. Let it fall apart so you can see its secret chambers, the hidden spaces where you have hesitated to go. Your entire life is here, inscribed whole upon your heart’s walls: every path taken or left behind, every face you turned toward or turned away, every word spoken in love or in rage, every line of your life you would prefer to leave in shadow, every story that shimmers with treasures known and those you have yet to find. It could take you days to wander these rooms. Forty, at least. And so let this be a season for wandering, for trusting the breaking, for tracing the rupture that will return you to the One who waits, who watches, who works within the rending to make your heart whole. — Jan Richardson


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