“Nothing that goes into someone from outside can make that person unclean; it is the things that come out of someone that makes that person unclean. Anyone who has ears for listening should listen!” Mark 7:15, 16
There is a great concern among many about the outward appearance of religion. That the rituals we perform in public are of an utmost importance. Lent is a traditional time of fasting. Those of us who observe it certainly don’t want to be seen with a barbecue sandwich in our hands or something else we are restricted from eating. Strict observance of such dietary rules do not make us any more worthy of salvation than those who don’t. The discipline of fasting is a tradition we are free to accept and reject. We walk by faith and not sight. We all see food in front of us.
Vigilance against the things within us is not optional. We all have capacity to think and act out evil. Fasting from our unclean ambitions and urges is far more critical to our walk in the spirit than eating red meat after Mardi Gras. If I were to eat a hamburger today, it will leave my system soon enough. If I don’t indulge in such eating and exercise, there are no consequences to either my physical or spiritual health. Lust is different. It is not excreted from the bowels. It leaves an imprint on our personhood that affects the way we respond to others. By its very nature, lust demands more of who we are. Relationships are broken, responsibility is cast aside, growth as a creature of spirit is stunted. If left unchecked, it is acted upon in the worst ways.
Take upon whatever tradition you wish and do so in faith. But, don’t let such things become more important that what we all must fast from.
Your Brother in Christ,
Order of Saint-Simon of Cyrene