The genius of a composer is found in the notes of his music; but analyzing the notes will not reveal his genius. The poet’s greatness is contained in his words; yet the study of his words will not disclose his inspiration. God reveals himself in creation; but scrutinize creation as minutely as you wish, you will not find God, any more than you will find the soul through careful examination of your body.
——-Anthony de Mello
Where do you find meaning? Where do you find God?Think about it.
Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
1 Corinthians 15:51-51
Abba John the Dwarf said, ‘If a king wanted to take possession of his enemy’s city, he would begin by cutting off the water and the food and so his enemies, dying of hunger, would submit to him. It is the same with the passions of the flesh: if a man goes about fasting and hungry the enemies of his soul grow weak.’
—-sayings of the Desert Fathers
The assertion of the wise old man is that by learning to deprive the body, the soul can find salvation. This proposition is a great challenge in a society that prides itself in upward mobility and exceptionalism. The very idea that through suffering we can achieve victory over our spiritual foes is not one that could gain much traction in the American culture. Abba John the Dwarf’s formula for suppression of worldly passions is one that we should consider. Fasting is a widely ignored traditional and biblical concept. I believe there are great benefits to this ancient practice. We have tried all sorts of things to get closer to God. Why not try fasting?