I am the youngest of three boys, and as such I know all about the pecking order games that siblings play. One game we played was called “Mercy.” Basically, you stand face to face, palms up, intertwine your fingers, and then GRAB and start bending and twisting until you contort someone’s hand in a such a way that they are forced to call out “MERCY!”
What a dumb game. Please don’t play that game. The only prize is knowing you can hurt someone. That is no badge of honor. (Sorry brothers!)
There is a tradition during Lent to “give up” something. The idea is to improve yourself through some sort of practice of imposed pain. This year however, after a months of lock down, separation, division, stress, depression and so on and so on… it’s ok NOT to play that game. Let’s find ways to practice care of others and care of self.
One of the three* Lenten disciplines is fasting. Several years ago Pope Francis suggested some of the following ways to “fast.” FYI, I am going to try fasting from worry. So pick one for yourself. One that will give you life. One is enough. Live it. Embrace it. Let God’s mercy strengthen you this Lent.
In the words of Pope Francis:
• Fast from hurting words and say kind words.
• Fast from sadness and be filled with gratitude.
• Fast from anger and be filled with patience.
• Fast from pessimism and be filled with hope.
• Fast from worries and have trust in God.
• Fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity.
• Fast from pressures and be prayerful.
• Fast from bitterness and fill your hearts with joy.
• Fast from selfishness and be compassionate to others.
• Fast from grudges and be reconciled.
• Fast from words and be silent so you can listen.
Peace, Pastor Andrew
* All three: Praying, Fasting, Giving Alms