“Just as the fish lives and moves and has its being in the water, without needing to know what water is or where it comes from, just as the bird flies through the air without needing to know how it is held, and propelled, by this invisible reality, so we can live and move and have our being in God, trusting the tides and currents of God’s love, that hold us, and move us, console and disturb us, nourish, guide, and challenge us. To live in this reality is to be in prayer every moment.” (Margaret Silf, The Gift of Prayer, BlueBridge)
Whoever offers their life out of love for Christ, and in service to others, will live like the seed that dies.
—From Archbishop Oscar Romero’s last words before he was assassinated during Mass on March 24, 1980
“But mortification—literally, ‘making death’—is what life is all about, a slow discovery of the mortality of all that is created so that we can appreciate its beauty without clinging to it as if it were a lasting possession. Our lives can indeed be seen as a process of becoming familiar with death, as a school in the art of dying. I do not mean this in a morbid way. On the contrary, when we see life constantly relativized by death, we can enjoy it for what it is: a free gift. The pictures, letters, and books of the past reveal life to us as a constant saying of farewell to beautiful places, good people, and wonderful experiences . . .
“In every arrival there is a leave-taking; in every reunion there is a separation; in each one’s growing up there is a growing old; in every smile there is a tear; and in every success there is a loss. All living is dying, and all celebration is mortification, too.” (Henri J. M. Nouwen, Show Me the Way, Crossroad)
In practice: Fasting during Lent
“This . . . is about fasting, abstaining, doing without, emptying out our storehouses, and giving to others as we have received from God. It’s about fasting from food, from excess, from greed and avarice, from collecting and hoarding material possessions. . . . It’s about fasting from selfishness and obsession with self-knowledge, security, and peace, peace of the kind the world worships and encourages—devoid of grief and mourning for those who lack the basic necessities of life or suffer because of the violence and insensitivity of others. It’s about fasting from comfort, from ease, from the route of least resistance, from the herd mentality, from pleasure for the sake of pleasure. Most important, it’s about fasting from power and self-gratification and glory.” (Megan McKenna, Lent, Orbis)