Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Being Real---A Lenten Challenge

Well, those of us in the Eastern Church have already started Lent. We started on Sunday March 6. In the East we have a forty day Lenten period which is then followed by Holy Week. The West however maintains a forty day Lenten period which begins tomorrow on Ash Wednesday, but they do not count weekends as Lenten periods. The most important thing though is that we are all on a spiritual journey during the next few weeks and will celebrate the Lord's Resurrection together on Sunday April 24. Let God keep track of time!

One of the things in life which I detest is false spirituality. Once in a while I receive an email from a seeker or someone who wants to join the Church and they sign their name with "the unworthy servant so and so" or "I kiss your right hand father......" or "bless me a sinner." I mean come on already, give it up! St. Paul reminds us in his letters that we are all the chief of sinners, that no one is worthy but Christ alone, and that we are all in need of his saving grace and mercy, period. So why the continual stress on "I kiss your right hand" spirit-speak as I say? Its all fake, that's why.

Real spirituality is not talked about but lived. Real spirituality is love in action. Real spirituality is doing things that you really don't want to do at a particular moment but out of love for your husband/wife/child/neighbor/boss, you do it anyway. Real spirituality is putting someone else in life first rather than yourself. Real spirituality is not pretentious or fake. Real spirituality is quiet and unassuming and hidden. Real spirituality does not put on catchy spiritual phrases but is revealed in common plain language.

I wish everyone a good Lenten season and hope that you all become more and more real; more and more the person that God made you to be, not some cheap version that you put on just to please others.

Friday, March 4, 2011


I am amazed at how strong people can be. The other day while driving I was listening to a very inspiring interview on NPR with the famous author Andre Dubus III, the author of The Land of Fog and Sand and most recently Townie. His father was the famous author Andre Dubus who died several years ago.

Townie is about growing up in a rough neighborhood. Since his parents were divorced his mom raised him along with his three other siblings. Her income was very meager so they lived in drug infested area with shootings, rapes, murders. He said that he missed at least 70 days a school a year. His sister was raped and was involved with drugs. His other brother became suicidal.

Thankfully everyone survived and they are now a close family.

What I was amazed at was the zeal to live. So many people have gone through some rough times: abuse, neglect, near death experiences, drugs, alcohol, divorces, rape, kidnapping, and war. Yet somehow they survived. They found some inner strength to move ahead. Andre Dubus III for example became a writer. Elie Wiesel, the famous writer, speaker, and scholar survived Auschwitz. There are countless others who have survived horrific things yet they managed to move ahead.

All I can say is "wow."

The interview also reminded me about the human condition and how broken we all are.