Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fat Tuesday

It has become almost a tradition. On Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday and the penitential sacrifices of Lent, I enjoy going to lunch at our local Chinese buffet. Even though we are small German communities surrounded by farmland, we have a Chinese restaurant that features a lunch buffet. The owners and operators of the establishment chatter back and forth to each other in Chinese, and from the counter you can here the sounds of Chinese-language television from the kitchen.

These little lunch dates with my wife are, I think, good for our relationship. We engage each other in conversation in a way that we would not if, as I usually do, I simply went home for lunch. My dear wife sometimes complains that I don’t communicate well, to which I reply by pleading guilty to being male. On my scale, I think we talk about things a lot more than most couples. I can only guess that she’s using some kind of internal female scale where the standard is continuous talking.

We had baby Jamie with us today, and she was quite good. As we were leaving, a woman commented that she’s always such a happy baby whenever she sees her, to which I replied that yes, she is now. Maybe she’s making up for the first five months when all she did was cry.

Before returning to work, I stopped at the Marathon station and got myself a big ol’ 44 oz. fountain drink of Mt. Dew. I don’t do that often, but it was Fat Tuesday, and this would be my last Mt. Dew for seven weeks. Last year for Lent, I had the brilliant idea of giving up high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). You never realize how much stuff it’s in. I found myself going without catsup, cocktail sauce, and tartar sauce. I made it all the way through until the last week of Lent, when a friend asked my wife what I was doing about bread. D’oh! I never thought to check the ingredients for bread.

The purpose of corporal mortification is not to inflict pain and privation on the body for the pleasure of making it suffer, but to discipline and control all its tendencies which are contrary to the life of grace. The Apostle warns us: “If you live according to the flesh, you shall die: but if by the Spirit you mortify the deeds of the flesh, you shall live” (Rom 8,13). We must curb ourselves in order to avoid falls; we must prune the useless or harmful branches in order to avoid deviation; we must direct toward good the forces which , left to themselves, might lead us into sin. For the4se reasons mortification, although it is not an end in itself nor the principal element in the Christian life, occupies a fundamental place in it and is an absolutely indispensable means toward attaining a spiritual life. (From Divine Intimacy)

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