by Kay Stoltz
Lent; a time of reflection and fasting. Particularly fasting. We ask what is in the way of our spiritual growth? What are our guilty pleasures? As we contemplate a fast, we see two views, two sides to every coin, a yin and a yang, a black and a white. For every sin, an opposite virtue.
I propose another approach, a positive one inspired by a writing from Ann Fontaine.
Substitute feasting for fasting.
Fast from judgment, Feast on compassion. Judging’s easy, and almost virtuous. Sloppy work, unkempt appearance, surly attitude? Where are their standards? However, if I walked in their shoes? How differently would I look at them?
Feast: I share God’s love and help where I can.
Fast from greed, Feast on sharing
Fast from scarcity, Feast on abundance: I wish I had, why don’t I have . . . poor me. Feast on my blessings, and God’s abundant love, don’t look over the fence.
Fast from fear, Feast on peace
Fast from lies, Feast on truth
Fast from gossip, Feast on encouragement
Fast from evil, Feast on kindness
Fast from anxiety, Feast on patience: We are anxious about St. Catherine’s future, and we worry. Be patient and trust in God.
Fast from apathy, Feast on engagement: Don’t get involved, sit on the sidelines? No, feast on working to make our world better. This world, this church, St. Catherine’s needs every one of us.
Fast from discontent, Feast on gratitude: Our lives didn’t work out as we wished? Feast and give thanks every day for what God has given us, including this day.
Fast from discouragement, Feast on hope
Fast from pride, Feast on humility: I didn’t really want to talk about this one. Humility is not one of my strong suits. This I must feast.
Fast from criticism, Feast on praise: Fast from seeing mistakes. Feast and find the honest effort, the job well done, and heap the praise.
Fast from hatred, Feast on love: Hatred comes in many forms; intolerance, anger, hostility, ridicule, cheating. Feast on God’s Love. Does it shine from us? Do people feel it?
What will be your fast? What will be your feast?
by Kay Stoltz No wind, no rain this morning. The quiet is calming, soothing. Dave sits in his chair, dozing off and on. I think about the “free” day I have ahead of me. There are no scheduled meetings, events, chores to think about, or plan around. Whoopee! A clean slate, I can do…Read More
by Phyllis Mannan We arrive for afternoon tea and smell chicken and cabbage simmering. Aunt Hannah says, Have a cookie … wear my blue apron to gather the eggs so the chickens will know you. On the screened porch she scrubs an egg with a gray rag over a newspaper on the floor in a…Read More
“Stormy Weather, just can’t get my poor self together, Keeps rainin’ all the time.” the voice from the C.D. player echoes my mood. “Keeps rainin’ all the ti-ime, the ti-ime.” I belt it out along with the music “. . . everything I had is gone . . .” My everything is gone, my…Read More
by Phyllis Mannan The shore pine snag stands, alive and itself, beyond time. Trunk and stripped limbs fired ocher and carnelian against a fading sky, it reaches with simple dignity toward the ether. Phantoms roost in its contorted branches or mingle with broken twigs in the dark duff. How…Read More
by Kay Stoltz Rain is coming in sheets, pouring so hard my windshield wipers can barely keep up and the wind is blowing sideways. New in town, I’m headed for a Garden Club meeting at the Pine Grove Community Center to meet people and enter the life of the community. It was merely sprinkling…Read More
by Jan Tarr A chant softly sung to call us, collect us, focus and center us, a candle flickering in a sun filled room, a circle of companions invoking, praising, in a beginning prayer before relaxing into the silence, expectant – aware – breathing – not thinking – receiving, slowing led by a calm voice…Read More
By Kay Stoltz “Grandma, I don’t feel good,” I whined. “I can’t go to church today, I feel awful.” She had come to get me up at some ungodly hour. It was the first day of summer vacation, for heaven’s sake, and I wasn’t even awake. So tired, I convinced myself that church was…Read More
by Elizabeth Bristol Sometimes I ramble on when I talk to God until a question falls out. Neither of us, God nor I, realize it’s rhetorical until He takes a breath to begin His reply. I remember the man by the pool of Bethesda perched on the edge waiting to be the first to get…Read More
by Tricia Gates Brown Holding a friend’s newborn, a sacred ritual becomes more sacred. Marco’s mother rises to exit the sanctuary and fetch a bottle, baby crying, and I gladly offer my services. Settling into my arms, he chugs, and sated, sleeps. All I have to do is bounce and smile and admire his fresh-off-the-shelf…Read More
“After experiencing a devastating loss, writer Tricia Gates Brown could no longer write. Seven months later, as she gathered strength, she set out composing short pieces simply as writing practice. Yet the narrative that tumbled out was a surprise. An arc of losing and finding. A journey of self-discovery and wonder.” Available at Cloud and…Read More
by Tricia Gates Brown “The purpose of life is to be continually defeated by ever greater things.” Rainier Maria Rilke Fall arrives and most days are unburdened. I’ve made the hard swim of a devastating spring into summer and fall. Though days are brief and stormy, my heart sheds the weight of a strenuous…Read More
by Kay Stolz Pisces, whose element is water, is my astrological sign. Notwithstanding the fact that I have lived in the desert for the bigger part of my life. Now an ocean is outside my door with 7 miles of beach. I could get mystical about it: the waves go out, and my troubles…Read More