Meatless Mondays is a mainstream global observance that has gained popularity with many individuals. This practice allows us to reduce our carbon footprint, thereby, saving precious resources like fossil fuels and fresh water, as well as reducing our risk for diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. Growing up in the Catholic Faith during the season of Lent I can recall observing meatless Fridays. The purpose of this ritual was created to remind individuals of their duty to sacrifice and abstain from the “sins of the flesh”. As a young child and even as a young adult, I was a faithful observer of meatless Fridays and to be totally honest it was not a sacrifice at all. In fact, I thoroughly enjoyed it! Fridays meant that homemade pizza, pasta fagioli or another pasta dish, potato and egg omelets on crusty semolina bread, and many other Italian soul food delectables would be on the menu. My home was filled with heavenly aromas of garlic, basil, and fresh baked pizza and calzones. Fridays were more characterized by indulgence than sacrifice and repentance, although I would feel guilty if I forgot what day of the week it was and ordered a turkey sandwich or a burger for lunch. Throughout the years, how many religious practices have you observed without them having had any significant ability to change or transform your life?
Charles Fillmore, co-founder of Unity, professed, Lent, is a church institution embodying an exalted idea, the idea of cleansing and disciplining both mind and body toward the end of making them more receptive to the Christ ideas. Like many other religious practices it is too often observed in letter but not in spirit. So how is one to live the spirit of the law of cleansing and disciplining, and abstaining from the sins of the flesh?
The metaphysical meaning of abstaining from the sins of the flesh is to cleanse one’s consciousness from error thinking and ways of being that are rooted in the fear based conditioning of our egoic selves. Our consciousness is made up of our thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and behaviors. So to cleanse yourself from erroneous thinking means to release from your life beliefs, words, and actions characterized by judgmentalism, criticism, scarcity, selfishness, self-condemnation, competition, discrimination, defensiveness, and all other forms of fear and separation.
Fillmore reminds us it is not only important to eliminate from our consciousness fear-based ways, but we must be spiritually disciplined to embody our Divine Potential. Within us all are 12 Divine Attributes: Faith, Strength, Understanding, Wisdom, Love, Dominion, Will, Imagination, Zeal, Order, Elimination and Life. During the season of Lent, it is a good opportunity to select one or two of your spiritual powers to consciously activate and bring forth their Divine Potential.
On Ash Wednesday, during our white stone ceremony, you will be given an opportunity to reflect on what you desire to release from your experience and to select one of your 12 Powers to embody this Lenten season. If you are not able to participate in the Ash Wednesday service, I invite you to practice the ritual of release and conscious, intentional embodiment of your Divine Potential. In the words of Charles Fillmore I challenge you to, Let the God within you express itself as you in the world!