Are You Sacrificing A Need To Satisfy A Want?

Are you sacrificing a need to satisfy a want?

We are too inclined for various reasons to see Lent as a period of sacrifice, and further, sacrifice as being abstinence and fasting. Keeping away. Letting go for a while.  Not consuming.

Yet sacrifice really means letting go of one good for a greater good. Or offering oneself to be consumed for another’s good. It’s not even meant to be a one-off thing, but something that characterises our lives.

Instead, we tend to gorge on complacency, low standards, vagueness, lack of clarity the whole year around, and during Lent feast on these even more…. because we feel we have “sacrificed” in the matter of food and drink.

Yet what is the greater good we are taking hold off and making our own during this period?

Lent could be one more time for us to deep dive, apply ourselves with an effort we are unaccustomed to, and strain our minds so our thoughts are of greater dignity, refined, clear and articulate. Our beliefs are verified, fed, and strengthened or rectified.

Understanding, is at the core of the human existence. Not by our own subjective likes/dislikes, but by God’s Grace, understanding the will and purpose of our creator and our own reason for being.

Better than staying away from food and drink therefore, and while away our time in front of a screen worshipping Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram, is to eat and drink from the Word of God, related commentaries, and writings of our Church Fathers and other contemporaries. 

Joy never comes from the absence of something. It comes always from the presence and possession of what is needed for a dignified, graceful, fulfilling life.

Forcing ourselves out of bed, struggling to complete our minimal responsibilities only to eagerly worship our screens and stay up as late as possible being thus entertained - this is not the Christian life. However much our names, religion, culture, and rituals promise us that we are Christian, such a life is deluded and ungodly.

Such is the life of a civilised animal pretending at dignity and grace and needing constantly to fight to possess and retain the same. Or at other times, fearful of losing it all. We may not do any active wrong and be socially and politically correct more often than not, but this is exactly why we are only “civilised animals”.  

In the words of Pope Benedict XVI “Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.”

Just as it is impossible for light to (1) touch darkness and not remove darkness and (2) Continue to spread and grow, similarly it is impossible for us to remain complacently in our old selves and yet be Christian.

The light of Christ, if it exists at all in us, must touch and remove our darkness, spread and grow within us till we are full and brimming over of Christ. Will it happen to all of us in our physical lifetimes? Possibly not. Yet the desire to compromise, accept our lesser selves, and be satisfied with a lesser standard must not exist.

Are you scared of the Truth? Would you rather pretend and be deceitful than gather the courage to be ignited and spread the light? Would you rather hesitate and comfort yourself by thinking “what concern is it of mine? To each his own.”

Are you so in love with yesterday that so very little enthuses, motivates, excites you of your tomorrows…are you already so disempowered that you do little or nothing for your tomorrow? Have you already turned your back on our Lord? Is the promise of Easter already taken for granted?

Lent is not a dull period that must somehow be circumvented by our material, physical selves.

Lent is the exciting time of re-centering ourselves, taking stock, making the conscious effort to dive deeper in, and grab hold of that meddling snake that swims and swarms in our soul as though it were its own.

We let our guard down, we were ignorant, we were absent minded, weak, but now comes the physical reminder of our tomorrow, of our own Easter, and with renewed vigour we leap to take hold of all that our Lord has made available for us, shedding the extra baggage that repeatedly holds us down in our psychological, emotional, and spiritual selves.

Don’t let the fifty days just be a time of feeling a little sad because you won’t have your way in all matters of food and drink.

Let it be a time of sacrifice, investment, and renunciation. A time of letting go of one good for a greater good, of setting aside a current good for a later greater good, and finally for turning away completely from one way of living to another way of living.

Find the strength and the grace of our Lord this lent, to never again be at least one thing that you always didn’t mind being previously.

If you don’t know what, maybe ask a loved one – they always know best how we should change. Also, its possibly better to do something for someone else’s sake than our own.