From The Hand of Fr. Aaron Ferris…March 26, 2017

We continue to unpack how fasting and other works of penance are a work of love. Building on last week’s reflection about our everyday gestures of love for another person, the works are even more valuable when we find them distasteful, when they go against our natural tendencies. When this happens, our sense of self-serving tends to disappear more and more and our minds and wills are more focused on the person we are serving.

We can see this at work in our daily lives when we think about those things our loved ones like and that are difficult for us. It might be something like a restaurant that they enjoy but you don’t; it might be the everyday chores like taking out the garbage; it might their enjoyment of the beach on vacation while you would prefer the mountains; it might be the living room, which you would prefer to be white and they would prefer to be blue. Our everyday lives present any number of situations in which we come face to face with things that we don’t like, that we can do or put up with for the sake of someone else.

Fasting and works of penance are part of those everyday ways we put someone else first in a way that is somewhat uncomfortable or distasteful. We know God has asked these things of us. There is the witness of Christ who took up the Cross for our sakes. We know in the Garden of Gethsemane that Jesus did not want to take up His Cross, but He was faithful to His Father’s will. With this comes His command to take up our crosses daily to follow Him (Luke 9:23). We must lose our lives to find it. Jesus says that His disciples will fast when the Bridegroom is taken away (Matthew 9:14-17).

We know that fasting and works of penance are what God wants, and we also know that they go against the grain of our nature, which makes them powerful, everyday works of love. They are a more complete yes to the other person and to what they would like because our self-interest is minimized. We lose something in the transaction, but as Jesus reminds us, we lose our lives in order to find them. We lay aside our self-interest in order to find the richness of love. We give up our self-will in order to find the blessings of God’s will. We die so that we might know the glory of the resurrection.

Rev. Aaron Ferris
Rev. Aaron Ferris
Rev. Aaron R. Ferris Ordination Date: June 6, 2009 Pastor, St. Anthony Parish (Saranac) and St. Mary’s Parish (Lowell) 402 Amity Street Lowell, MI 49331 Phone: 616-897-9820
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