February 21, 2003

Reminder to Self
Caption to man being given medical attention:
More common is the tendency to mentally exaggerate the consequences of keeping the fast, but with time and experience, this too will come under control of the will. - Disputations

One aspect of fasting is that it is not an even playing field and should be individually-gauged or tuned. My 92-year old grandmother, God bless her - her only joy in life is food. She is house-bound, can't travel, can't do many of the things I have the luxury of doing (I shan't name them but you get the drift). So for her to give up food is necessarily a greater trial than for me to give up food because it is a sacrifice of a greater percentage of what makes her happy, at least in an earthly sense. I understand that pleasure does not equal happiness, but sometimes the perception of lack, of dearth, contributes to a sense of unhappiness when the lack is not joined properly with God.

I remember one time a friend asking me why selfishness was so hard to eradicate in oneself and I said unselfishness typically involves a sacrifice of temporal personal happiness. If it were easy, everyone would do it. It's the delaying of personal gratification towards the laying up of treasure in heaven. It's the same reason the savings rate for Americans is so abysmal. Unselfishness on the order of Mother Teresa is an astonishing example of delayed gratification.

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