If you are reading this about fasting from sin then it is doubtful that you feast upon sinning. More than likely you are like most people that trip and slip into sin with your virtue falling face first into the mud of life. Yeah…me too.
The thing about sinning that has always left me feeling a bit confused is that I (we) cannot not sin. It is after I’ve messed up that I draw closer to God, and by seeking him delight him…but my sinning doesn’t delight him…but I can’t not sin…and I try to be virtuous…and…well…on it goes. So I go to confession regularly and try repeatedly to “avoid the near occasion of sin” knowing full well that I will be back in a couple of weeks to reconcile all over again. And God is pleased.
It is when I am focused on God’s third-day-creations that sifting through my failures or successes at virtuousness becomes apparent. There is something about looking at a rampant vine that helps me realize that there are multiple influences twisting my actions or inactivity. It is in the quiet of the moment while in prayer that I am able to work backwards from the branching and vining to the root and see the origins of virtue gone astray.
I find too that grubbing in the soil with dirty hands and muddy knees helps to literally unearth what is buried deep within me, things like resentments, unforgiving of past hurts, and pride. There is a patience needed to working soil, which is especially true with a patch of hardened clay or shifting sand. A hardened part of my heart may take months to soften. A slippery sandy slope of stubborn self-righteousness usually takes longer. As most gardeners know, amending soil isn’t a singular effort, nor is amending a soul.
I have always found a comfort in parables that reference nature. Like most people, and especially those who garden or farm, these stories are the easiest to contemplate and apply to our own personal lives. They make it easy to understand how to grow our virtues. And ultimately to create “a garden in which our Lord can take his delight.”
Thank you for sharing in my Lenten Journey. May God be always praised.