As human beings we are constantly looking for affirmation. Are we doing the right thing? Are we on the right track? If we are not on the right track, then what do we need to change to get back to it? There is a certain anxiety level that we seem to maintain in order to remain interested in or inspired by what we are doing. I am not going to make a judgement about the rightness or wrongness of this seeming reality. However, I will suggest that because of it we have to be careful that our spiritual lives do not descend into some sort assessment of whether or not we are ‘making the grade’ so to speak in order to remain in God’s ‘good books.’

Look at the Gospel. What is main sentiment in the question asked by the people? They seem to identify holiness or whatever quality it is they are concerned about, with the outward practice of fasting. In a round about sort of way Jesus asks them, “What is the reason one should fast?” He then states that the bridegroom is here and who in the right mind would be fasting after the bridegroom had arrived at the wedding feast!?

Jesus asks us to look at the reasons why we practice any given asceticism. This is what is important. Different times and different situations will call for different responses. Just because this is what we did yesterday, or even have been doing for the last hundreds of years does not necessarily mean that it is going to remain exactly the same forever! If we know why we are doing what we are doing then it will be much easier for us to adjust or inculturate any given practice such that the essential truth is not lost.

The truth does not change, however, the way we express and act upon the truth may need to change as culture and society develops. Fifty years ago all Masses were in Latin. That is not the case today, but no one would suggest that it is not a Mass being celebrated when the language is something other than Latin! The Mass is the Mass and what is essential is still there. The same needs to be true for all our religious practices and devotions.

Why do I do the things I do in regards to my faith? Have I thought much about what they really mean or do I just mechanically go through the motions of doing them? How can I more deeply embrace the truths that they represent?

Lord Jesus, you always want people to search out the deeper truth of all that they are doing. Grant me the grace to truly want to know the truth and never to settle for second best.