Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021


Darwin and I decided to step up our Lenten fasting, both as a discipline and a spiritual practice. The spiritual practice definitely has a physical component -- the fasting itself is the prayer, and one recalls that the chief thing recorded about Jesus's fast was that he was hungry. The hunger is not exciting, not a drive, not at all the sort of thing that motivational speakers mean when they use "hunger" as a synonym for passion and drive. This hunger is intensely, consumingly boring  for a time, Then it fades away. You have to wait out the boredom and the gnawing and remember that this too shall pass.

"Some demons can only be driven out by prayer and fasting," Jesus advises the disciples, when they were unable to cast out a demon in his name. So it's a strong offensive tool, to be implemented before you know you need it. But sometimes you wonder what you're fasting for.

And then on Sunday, our pastor, who had been mysteriously AWOL for several weeks, turned up at most of the masses to announce that he was resigning, effective tomorrow, after consultation with the bishop, and that he wanted to assure us didn't do anything criminal.

This is, believe it or not, the third priest in a row who has vanished on our parish. One was yanked after being pastor for about three weeks (if memory serves) because he was angry at the bishop and tried to blow up our parish in revenge for his assignment. (And let me assure you that a motivated priest with no concern for his reputation can do a remarkable amount of damage in three weeks.) His eventual replacement lasted much longer and seemed a better fit, but disappeared on us too -- into rehab, as it turned out. With this latest, his replacement, we seemed to be finding our footing. He seemed like a kind, pastoral man. We each are attuned to our own particular red flags, and he did not send up any of mine.

Father's announcement was mostly bland, simply a tone of moving on, so that a few people jumped up and offered applause. But I had to attend more than one mass that weekend, and the tone was very different when Father was not managing his own message. Confusion, dismay, sorrow -- all the things you'd expect when your father leaves without saying why. We are blessed to have an assistant pastor, so we are not left priestless. But we have been abandoned, again, and it is painful.

And now we know why we fast.


mandamum said...

Oh, Mrs. D. I am so sorry. We are losing a pastor just to the usual "you've been happy here, you're settled, time to go" and that's hard enough, but at least we know why, and we know why we'll be meeting a new pastor in June.

We were just discussing the story from the book of Tobit recently - perhaps your parish needs some of St. Raphael's matchmaking?

I will add your parish to my own prayers this rest of Lent.

Anonymous said...

Why are you stepping up the fasting if you don't even know what it's for? I mean, what's the point if it doesn't make you more aware of spirituality? Surely if it worked you know?