By Fr. Bernie Weir
Lent has started. As always, I am giving up pizza. It amazes me how much pizza shows up when you can’t eat it. Oh well, there are always tacos. This year I am also giving up blue jeans, and I am working on surrendering my will more to Christ. Believe it or not, there is a connection between jeans and surrendering to Christ.
I have never owned a pair of Dockers pants in my life. I just could never get myself to buy any because they do not fit the image I have of myself. I’m a jeans guy. I have always believed you should never leave the house without something bright, striped or plaid somewhere on your body and it is best if you have all three on at the same time. Nothing against people who wear Dockers, but I just couldn’t do it. I know this is all in my mind, but I never have wanted to surrender to cultural pressures to dress like that. I just couldn’t see myself in Dockers.
When I was a young priest it just didn’t seem that hard to surrender my will to Christ. The image I had of myself was that of surrender. All was well in the Kingdom of God. Surrender was easy then. It has gotten harder as I have gotten older. All is still well in the Kingdom of God, but surrender is harder.
I don’t know if it is more difficult because I’m old and know that most of my life is behind me, or if I just got lazy. I’m sure it is some combination of the two. I still have a lot of places to go and a lot of things to do over the next 20 years or so. I plan to do as many of them as possible. Surrender is one of those things and I would say it is the most important. Sitting on my front porch in Mexico is a dream. Surrender is life.
I have decided to change what I wear during Lent as a daily reminder of the need to surrender. I am surrendering to Dockers — or pants like them — to physically remind myself that I have to surrender my will. Just saying I want to do it is not enough. I have to be reminded daily.
They say that we all put our pants on one leg at a time. So, as I put those Dockers on, one leg at a time, I will pray that today I surrender my will more fully.
I only eat pizza two or three times a month. Not a big deal to do without. There are always tacos after all. During Lent I want to encourage you to make a physical change that affects your life daily. Fasting is about surrender; it is not about eating less.
I still have my shirts that are bright, striped and plaid. I will be fine. Dockers aren’t going to kill me. Surrender, however will save me.
(Fr. Bernie Weir is pastor of St. James Parish in Washington.)