Mardi Gras!!! Today and tonight there will be great revelry all around the world as Christians literally and figuratively devour all the "fat" in their cupboards and make way for the somber season of Lent. In the Christian tradition, Lent marks the 40 days and 40 nights Jesus spent in the desert, tempted by the devil but never giving in. Christians give up or take on whatever they can think of that will remind them of this time of Temptation, cleansing their hearts, minds, bodies and souls in preparation for the Great Feast of the Resurrection, Easter.
An important part of monastic spirituality is developing a Rule of LIfe in order to "grow into the fullness God desires for us and to support spiritual disciplines that will flourish our whole being" (http://ssje.org/ssje/growrule/). I commend the brothers of St. John the Evangelist to you if you are looking for a rule of life and a way to mark the days of Lent.
I find it imperative to recognize that all of the major world religions have times of fasting and cleansing as well as rules of life by which followers guide and maneuver their journeys. The picture above states the Golden Rule in all the world religions which in many different ways says...Love your neighbor as yourself. Perhaps that is the one rule of life we could follow to mark Lent.
Another possibility for marking Lent would be to look at the three specific ways scripture tells us Jesus was tempted:
1. to turn stone into bread
2. to rule all the nations of the world
3. to jump from the pinnacle of the temple and survive
Then get creative, use metaphor and other figurative language and think of ways you can take on or give up things in your world that will enable you to resist those temptations.
Remember Jesus' s response to the temptations:
1."One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God."
2.“Away with you, Satan! for it is written,‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him."
3.“Again it is written, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test."
More about this tomorrow. Till then...Happy Mardi Gras and Laissez les bons temp rouler!