Fighting ADD

(March 6, 2019)

Bottom line: Prayer, fasting and generosity: Jews and Christians have used these practices for millenia - to refocus, get back on the rails, to turn to God.

In his foreword to The Mindful Catholic, Dr. Peter Kreeft admits, "I have ADD...I am easily bored and distracted." Like Dr. Kreeft many of us - even if not clinically diagnosed - we experience those symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder.

That's the reason you and I need Lent. We get scattered, distracted, lose our focus. Jesus gives us the remedy: the penitential practices that Jews and Christians have used for centuries. The practices are prayer, fasting and almsgiving - or generosity.

We'll say more about prayer and generosity as we go deeper into Lent. For now, I'd like to underscore fasting. Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fast which means we should experience some physical hunger - Go to bed hungry as so many in our world do. Beyond Ash Wednesday, the seven Fridays between now and Easter are also days of abstinence from meat. I invite you to join me in the Daniel Fast: in addition to meat, abstain from other savory foods such as sweets, bread, fried food, cheese, eggs and alcohol. Instead: fruit, vegetables, grains, oil, seeds, nuts, poached fish and legumes. Try doing a Daniel Fast on Fridays and one other day, perhaps Tuesday. You may find the Daniel Fast will influence other days of Lent. This Sunday we will hear how Jesus fasted forty days. Fasting will help us focus, to fight ADD.

Maybe you already got distracted. Perhaps this morning you forgot it was Ash Wednesday and fixed a bacon and egg breakfast. Don't beat yourself up and throw in the towel. Take a breath, slowly exhale. Refocus. In fasting, prayer and generosity Jesus gives us the way to fight ADD, to get back on track, to refocus.

When Dr. Kreeft said, "I have ADD...I am easily distracted," he mentions a book that helped him: The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. During Lent I will use that little book along with The Mindful Catholic - it takes advantage of new brain science studies to help our relation to God and to each other.

I encourage you to get a copy of Practice of the Presence of God and Mindful Catholic. They are both available as audio books which I like. I have a third resource that I want each of you to have: Let God Work Wonders by Fr. Joseph Sica. It has reflections for each day of Lent. Last year we used Finding Hope When Life Hurts, also by Fr. Sica. I think you will like Let God Work Wonders. Pick up a copy at the entrances.

For Ash Wednesday Fr Sica tells about Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. As a boy he traveled across country with his grandparents. His grandmother smoked throughout the trip and Jeff estimated how many years she took off her life. When he told her she began to cry. His grandfather took him outside and said, "Jeff, one day you'll understand it's harder to be kind than clever."

I don't know about you but for me a lot of unkindness is inattention, lack of focus, ADD. This Lent we will fight ADD. We will use prayer, fasting and generosity. Jews and Christians have used these practices for millennia - to refocus, get back on the rails, to turn to God. As we will hear when we receive the cross of ashes, "Repent and believe in the Gospel." Amen.


Spanish Version

From Archives (Ash Wednesday Homilies):

Finding Hope When Life Hurts
Best Lent Ever: Even Now
First Things
New Mind and Heart
Go to Your Inner Room
Return to Me
The Purpose of Lent
Two Cheers for Catholic Guilt
Don't Waste This Crisis
When You Give Alms
Back to the Basics
Dealing With Guilt
Exercise of Holy Desire

Homilies for First Sunday of Lent ("Temptation Sunday"):

2018 (Year B): Finding Hope When Life Hurts Week 1: Boundaries
2017 (Year A): Best Lent Ever: Prayer Changes Everything
2016 (Year C): First Things: Prayer
2015 (Year B): New Mind and Heart Week 1
2014 (Year A): Prayer and Spiritual Combat Week 1
2013 (Year C): Do Not Talk to the Devil
2012 (Year B): The Convenant with Noah Today
2011 (Year A): The Purpose of Temptation
2010 (Year C): Who Is Like God?
2009 (Year B): Knee Mail
2008 (Year A): The Devil is a Logician
2007 (Year C): More Powerful than Satan
2006 (Year B): Sir, Go on the Other Side
2005 (Year A): The Temptation of Sloth
2004 (Year C): Temptation of Spirituality
2003 (Year B): Lent with C.S. Lewis
2002 (Year A): First Signs of Spring
2001 (Year C): How Satan Operates
2000 (Year B): The Rabbit's Foot
1999 (Year A): Original Sin & Temptation
1998 (Year C): Hidden Sin of Gluttony
1997 (Year B): Jesus' Temptation & Ours

Other Homilies

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)

Take the Plunge Bible Study (audio resources)

Are these homilies a help to you? Please consider making a donation to St. Mary of the Valley Parish.

Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Pat Freitag (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron

Bulletin (St. Mary of Valley Parish)

Parish Picture Album


MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru