There was an interesting tidbit of information in the reflection for the Thursday after Ash Wednesday which said, In medieval times monks would give up butter, lard and fat for Lent. They had an Ash Wednesday ceremony called "Burying the Fat," in which they put butter in a casket, held a funeral service and actually buried the casket They took it quite seriously. They felt it was their way of sharing in the sufferings of Christ.
I tried to imagine my community doing this...
There we are standing around an open coffin...Sr. Rita, our prioress, tosses in the Crisco while we sing an appropriate funeral song...
There is debate as to whether the canola and olive oil should go in...it is 'heatlhy' after all. But no...it's Lent! "It all has to go!!!!" roars our prioress.
We slam the coffin lid down and carry it out back where we drop it into the earth and each toss in a shovelful of dirt to cover it up. For good measure we stand on the top of the 'grave' and stamp the dirt down with our feet.
While I may poke a little fun at my ancestors in the monastic timeline, it does give me food for thought...or fat for thought. There are other things I could be serious about burying.
Even discerning a life choice such as whether to enter a religious community will entail burying a few things.
I would suggest tossing in these two things:
1. The desire to make a decision only after you are 100% sure. (This one can really slow you down or in fact paralyze you). I've come to realize that God lets us live with a whole lot of ambiguity in these matters. I think it is a matter of strengthening our faith. As much as we might not like to stumble around in the dark, it is those times when we have to exercise the most faith and trust in God.
2. The desire to find the perfect community. The reality is that there are no perfect communities. And if there were, as soon as you would enter it, it wouldn't be perfect anymore (unless you are willing to claim that you are perfect). The women and men in religious life are human with their own weaknesses. God wants us to live with each other with all our annoyances and disagreements in order to teach us to really learn to love each other and practice self-giving and humility. God does not promise us rose gardens in our communities.
There are a host of other things that may need to be buried at some time. But I suspect God is even willing to help us do the shoveling if we just ask...