Ernie died yesterday. Bert died about nine days earlier. They were my one-year-old son Eli’s first pets—goldfish from the 2014 St. Mary’s Central High School carnival.
I have a troubled history with goldfish. Moses, Stewie, Askum, Jif…all goldfish gone to a greater place. There was even the time a friend donated a hearty one-year-old fish to my care. Franz Marie was dead two days later.
After reflecting on Bert and Ernie’s remarkably short lives, I had to admit that I didn’t really put my best foot forward for the little guys. Keeping them alive wasn’t a priority.
Priorities are revealing; they show where our hearts truly lie and what we deem important enough to receive our attention. And as my life has changed, I’ve realized that my spiritual needs have been demanding more conscious attention and effort lately.
Yes, I’ve been physically present at Mass Sunday after Sunday, but now there’s an X factor: Many times my mental energy during Mass is devoted to silencing, corralling, changing or feeding a little guy who has discovered that his voice echoes really well in large churches.
It’s easy to point fingers, but honestly, the emptiness of my spiritual belly is not the fault of my children, my pastor or my Church. It’s my fault.
Lent is a season of fasting. But this Lent, we also need to be sure we’re feeding ourselves.
Simple things like turning off the radio while driving can provide precious moments of silence. Who ever said you can’t pray while you drive?
If daily Mass isn’t a possibility (which is the
way to feed yourself), download the free
on your smartphone. Daily Mass readings are instantly at your fingertips. (I’ve found that it helps to make a rule: Facebook, Twitter and email can’t be checked until a trip to iBreviary is complete.)
Don’t have a smartphone? Make
the homepage on your computer and get some Bible time in right after you power up for the first time each day. (You’ll be surprised at how much it helps to digest the Sunday Mass readings before actually arriving in the pew…especially if the others arriving in the pew with you are prone to cause distraction.)
Where do you spend your lunch hour? Tear yourself away from the desk and sneak out of the office to a nearby church. Stop in, say hi to Jesus and tell him about your day. (Don’t forget to listen for his response.)
I have confidence that if I truly put my mind to it, I could be a really good fish owner. If being a really good fish owner was the ultimate goal in life, I hope I would have made it a priority by now.
You should have confidence that if you put your mind to it, you can be a really good friend of Jesus. If being a really good friend of Jesus is the ultimate goal in life, it’s time to make it a priority.
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