The quiet stillness of centering prayer opens my ears to hear the birds sing outside my window and the tiny ticks of the clock on my desk. Calm peace fills my body as I remember that my value is not in what I produce. No need to hurry up and finish prayer so I can get to work. My prayer is my work and my work is a prayer.

At least that is how I want it to be.

I am choosing to fast from media overload as my lenten practice this year. Not because media is bad, but because too much of it keeps me from aligning my mind with my soul and my daily actions with the wisdom of the Spirit.

Every email I view demands a decision: open and attend, delete, or delay decision. Every decision to click open an email or link leads to a series of decisions about how to take in that information. In that process I must determine how beneficial it is to me and decide how much time and energy I will devote to it.

Listen from Within

Someone else always has an alternative view of reality or a supposedly better plan for my life. Each external engagement demands I consider yet another perspective on something. Too much of that pulls me away from my own inner guidance, from the quiet, hidden place within where God’s wisdom guides me (Psalm 51.6).

Lenten fasting invites us to turn toward God, to deepen our connection to the voice of the Spirit within as we abide in the love of God in Christ. It’s not just about sacrifice, giving up something or turning away from worldly pleasures.

We fast from bodily pleasures or temporal things not because they are bad, but because they can never fully satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts. We let go of sensory overload because it dulls our capacity to listen from within. We let go of pleasures so we can access a felt sense of Spirit’s embodied guidance whose sweetness and satisfaction is much more subtle than that which comes from wine, chocolate and rich foods.

My Great Uncle Solanus Casey said that human greatness lies in faithfulness to the present moment–to be fully present with myself, God and whomever or whatever is before me. I’m not very adept at that. Lent gives me a chance to acknowledge what keeps me from being fully present and experiment with a new way of being. I’m choosing to regulate what information I take in from the internet and focus on staying connected to God in each moment, listen from within, and let go of an old pattern of being easily distracted.

What keeps you from hearing the birds sing and the clock tick? What so fully fills your mind  that you forget to attend to your soul? What so completely satiates your bodily desires that you neglect listening for the wisdom of your innermost being?

More than turning away from something, fasting aligns us more fully with what makes us fully human. Then our prayer is our work and our work is our prayer.