My husband and I just started an all-liquid diet that we will be on for at least six months. It’s a medically supervised diet and, of course, it presents all the obvious challenges of hunger, temptation, and deprivation. But, I’m approaching this diet as a spiritual exercise in learning to let go of what weighs me down and keeps me from being transformed into the person God calls me to be.
One attitude that I’m trying to let go of is anger. When I harbor anger, I know I’m allowing this feeling to eat away at my ability to be at peace, to see things clearly, and to be open to God’s graces. What I’m learning is that if I adopt an attitude of understanding, I can diffuse my anger and not let it control me. When I allow understanding to be my focus, I can let go of my way of thinking about a person or situation and let God transform me into a more compassionate, peace-filled person. I can practice being and building peace, which are two aspects of the mission of the Dominican Sisters of Peace and Associates.
What attitude do you need to let go of and give over to God so that you can be transformed?
As I experience hunger pangs, I am aware that this will be only a temporary feeling for me. While I’ve made the choice to follow this diet, there are many who experience hunger not by choice but by circumstance, often beyond their control. Can I use this experience to increase my awareness of the plight of the impoverished or of those suffering from malnutrition? I can let go of my need to consume and use the occasion to make a monetary contribution to a local food bank.
What is God calling you to sacrifice today for the good of others?
As I pass by a bowl of candies many times a day on my way to and from my office, I experience a gnawing temptation to satisfy my taste buds with this instant delight. We all experience temptation because our desires for food, comfort, love, and so on, are part of being human. These same desires, however, can become addictive with a must-have attitude. Understanding what we are seeking or desiring can help us overcome temptation and by refocusing our energies towards something else or remembering why we’re pursuing a particular goal can help us refrain from temptation.
What temptations keep you from staying on your path to becoming whole?
In the Gospel readings from Mark, Matthew, and Luke, we read about Jesus’s temptation at Gethsemane of not wanting to face the upcoming events that awaited him of being betrayed, mocked, scorned, beaten, and then crucified. Prayer becomes Jesus consolation as he lets go of his desire to not suffer and prays to God, “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will but as you will” (Matthew 26:39, Mark 14:36, Luke 22:42).
When I feel deprived upon seeing others enjoying a meal or a snack, I can remind myself again of this temporary state of dwelling and focus my attention on the need to be transformed physically and spiritually. Scripture again tells us how Jesus dealt with deprivation when he was hungry during his 40 days of fasting in the wilderness. Confronted by Satan to provide food for himself miraculously, Jesus asserts “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4:4). Jesus instead trusts God to provide for his needs. Jesus’ dependence on God is an act of letting go and allowing God to be the center of his life.
What is your spiritual hunger? What is your spiritual sustenance? Are you able to let go of your desires and give your concerns to God, making God the center of your life?
Each of us is on a journey and faces different challenges. We can lean on God through prayer and seek support from others around us for strength to accept or overcome these challenges. God is with us and we need only let go to allow God to transform us into the person we are meant to be.
Are you meant to follow God’s will as a religious sister? Are you ready to be transformed into the person God meant you to be? Why not contact us to talk over where God might be leading you?