Monday, February 19, 2018

Maintaining Spiritual Homeostasis

Most of us, I would say, are in the habit of having routine checkups on not only our physical bodies but our cars, furnaces, air conditioners and so on.  We tend to take for granted that they will start and run properly if we take good care of them.  We all know the value of checking our blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels, keeping our vaccinations up to date as well as checking gauges, fluid levels, filters, etc. on all the equipment that makes our lives more comfortable and safe. How many of us, though, are checking up on the state our souls? Do we ever consciously realize we have a soul? How often do we make an examination of conscience or go to confession? Lent, in a sense, is an opportunity to assess the condition of our soul and spiritual life. Fasting, in a sense, is part of the vital maintenance routine needed for the soul as it helps cleanse and heal us from evil thoughts, actions and deeds. It is the changing of every part of our life as needed. The sacrifice of the fast is so much more than the mere abstinence from sweets, cigarettes, television, Facebook, etc. It is the purposeful separating ourselves from sin and the near occasion of it. It has been suggested many times and I agree fully that not only the stomach should fast but our entire being should be involved and affected. Are you thinking, who ever heard of fasting with your feet, your mouth and so on?  Let me expand on what I have read about a different more inclusive way of fasting. Let your hands let go off those video game controls, the gambling devices at the casinos, the items you steal from work or shoplift at stores, embezzle or take more than you need out of greed. What about your legs and feet? Keep them off the roads that lead to sinful places, people and things. Set your eyes on what is good and pleasing to the Lord to escape being drawn to sinful sites on the internet or watching shows and movies that via our eyes enter into the portals of our mind to conjure up evil thoughts which progress into fantasized scenarios that lead us to act out on what our eyes have been allowed to perceive. Turn a deaf ear and mute the volume of your voice so as to not allow yourself to hear or speak gossip, slander, unkind, and judgmental words about others. Choose not to defame, bully or abuse others. Stop listening to the words of current hit songs that encourage and promote violence, retaliation, unrealistic promises of love. What is more beneficial to our salvation? Giving up our favorite foods and treats or letting our mouths devour up a fellow human’s reputation with malice?  In Galatians Chapter 5, verse 15, St. Paul warns us that “If you chew up and consume one another, be careful that you do not annihilate yourselves.” What right do you have to thrust uncharitable words into another’s soul? Why have the need to inoculate others as well as yourself with infecting contempt and anger that causes further unwarranted damage to yourself, the other person, and possibly countless others?

We so easily give in to creature comforts and false senses of security. We demand instant gratification. We believe strongly in our fantasized entitlement rights. Jesus Christ came into this world as a loving and caring teacher. He showed us the way of checks and balances to maintain our soul’s spiritual homeostasis. Before He began His mission of salvation, He went in to the desert and fasted. He taught us by words and deeds. He always visibly practiced what he preached. We need to follow His example, His lifestyle, and His teachings. We need to work at ridding ourselves of our destructive habits and behaviors. Let us therefore commit this Lent in every way to cast off our destructive habits so that we may receive as well as help others to receive eternal salvation which has been offered to us in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Fr. Marek Chmurski

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