Foolish Sacrifice

by Hilary Horn

By Br. Terrence Declan, AF

Please allow me to ask you a question. What really piqued your interest in this blog, the title or the picture? I know what my answer would be. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Here is my story behind the picture.

When I was a young child my parents would give me an allowance. As I recall it was not a significant amount, maybe ten cents per week when it started. I think it eventually worked its way up to twenty-five cents per week. There is always the inflation factor.

Every week I would commit one half of my ten cent allowance to the purchase of one precious, delicious, melt in my mouth Reese’s peanut butter cup. I loved and still do love Reese’s peanut butter cups. And back then they were only five cents each.

Since this is a Lenten blog you can probably sense where this is heading. I was told that I should give up something for Lent that would be difficult for me to give up. For me, what could possibly be more difficult than giving up for five plus weeks my weekly Reese’s peanut butter cup? The answer is,“Nothing.” I also was not informed about the “Sunday Exemption”.

Thinking of nothing more difficult to give up at that time, I promised God that I would make this supreme sacrifice. It was difficult for me. And to make matters worse since I was a regular customer, when I went to pay for a different candy bar the woman at the counter said, “What no Reese’s peanut butter cup today?” I told her that I had given it up for Lent. Without even realizing it I was being a witness to my faith and practice. But I digress.

Giving up a piece of candy once per week? Looking back I wonder if that was any big sacrifice. Seriously? A five cent candy bar? It was a sacrifice without a blemish as far as I was concerned. But was God Impressed? Did God need that offering. Did God realize how difficult it was for me? Did God care? I wondered.

This ended like many of my Lenten resolutions over the years. Sometimes I made it and sometimes I did not. But a Reese’s peanut butter cup as a sacrifice to God? Seriously? How foolish it was for me to think that a sovereign, Holy, omnipotent God would be impressed by my little sacrifice. Foolish! Or was it?

I suspect that the foolishness of what one does for God is relative to one’s place in their spiritual journey. I changed from giving up things during Lent to doing good deeds or committing to spiritual practices. Being an adult did not guarantee success in keeping my promises to God over the years. I wonder if even making a commitment each Lent was just another attempt to be faithful that would end in failure. Was it foolish to even try?

Obviously I am no expert or authority in the area of sacrifices and offerings to God. I am no expert on Lenten practices. I frequently feel inadequate and foolish trying to live by faith. I am always learning, falling and getting up again.

Currently, I am not technically giving up anything for Lent. I am not attempting to keep up a new or existing practice. I am simply trying to be. Yes, that is all. I am simply just trying to be. Be.

Be present in the moment. Be present and aware of the Presence always and everywhere. Be present to the Presence in all of creation surrounding me. How am I doing you might ask? As I said, I am always learning, falling and getting up again.

Foolish? Maybe, but Easter is right around the corner.
By any chance have you tried those Reese’s peanut butter Easter eggs?

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