Thursday, November 06, 2008

Reaching for Perfection

I'm surrounded by the stuff. Chocolate is everywhere I look:
In a bowl on the table
In the kids' Halloween bags
In the pantry
In my mind

Therefore, it makes sense that abstaining from chocolate is a frequent Friday penance of choice.

Penance keeps me "mindful of my personal sins and the sins of mankind," mindful of my failings and weaknesses. It reminds me that I must call on Christ for strength and it inspires me to offer my weak and tiny sacrifices as prayers for others. Fasting and abstinence train my will, and sharpen self-discipline. Friday penance beckons me to perfection, and to the Perfect Source, even while making it glaringly apparent to me that I am woefully far from perfection.

And yet, my Lord calls me to perfection. Can I attain it in this life?

I'm no math expert, but I know that my virtue would have to grow exponentially for me to make it in my lifetime.

But, when I sit in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, when I spend time in prayer, when I feel the presence of Christ, as palpable as the chocolate I crave, I know that I want, at the very least, to reach for the Perfection that He is.

And so, on Fridays, instead of reaching for chocolate?

I reach for Him.


Maryan said...

Thanks for these thoughts Karen.

Margaret in Minnesota said...

I can't recall the last time I gave up coffee on a Friday for love of Him. Tomorrow I am going try to and I will offer up my grumps for you. ;)

I am horrible at penance, Karen--simply horrible. Yet I know that there is a level of perfection--a step up, as it were, for me--that I will never reach without it.

AmysZoo said...

Karen, such good words and things to think about. Thank you for sharing. As an evangelical girl, I find it interesting that an amazingly large percentage of the blogs I read are written by this wonderful group of creative, smart, homeschooling, lovely Catholic women. Your devotion to Christ is an encouragement to me and a blessing as I walk this road of faith. What you wrote makes so much sense to me. Christ died to himself. As we die to ourselves, we learn His way, learn more about Him and find His companionship in the sacrifice in a way we can't in any other way. Giving up chocolate must be hard, but reaching for Christ and finding Him is infinitely more satisfying.

I could give up chocolate...but coffee? Margaret, you are a brave woman! I think that by 10am my kids may be begging me to give up something else :). Blessings to you, ladies. I may be following you in your no chocolate Fridays, reaching for Him instead...

Karen E. said...

Thank you, Amy! What kind and generous words. And thank you, too, Maryan and Margaret.

And, oooh ... now I'm going to have to put coffee in the penance rotation .... :-O

Sarah Reinhard said...

Love this. My Friday penance is similar...anything sweet. (And remembering it proves to be a little...embarrassing sometimes (like when my mouth is open, hand halfway to it...)).

Thanks for sharing this!