Have you ever eaten a meal that was SO good when you ate it and then everytime you burped for the rest of the day you could taste it again? I’m sure you have. Most people have, most people don’t mind re-tasting the good meals.
Have you ever eaten a great meal only when you burped it tasted gross? And no matter what you did you seemed to keep burping and keep tasting that nasty taste? Probably. You thought when you were eating it that it was so delicious and you thoroughly enjoyed the meal…the first time around at least.
Have you ever eaten the worst meal ever and then had to re-taste it with every burp? You brush your teeth, you chew gum, you eat mints and nothing seems to get rid of that horrid burping regurge. It was gross going down and the fact that you are constantly reminded of that horrible meal is incredibly annoying.
Well, we’ve all had these experiences. Sometimes we don’t have to re-taste our meals when we burp and that is often a beautiful thing. Yesterday I had a great lunch. It was our monthly “eating meeting” at work where we all bring in food and have a potluck staff meeting and the main course was Margherita Pizza. It was fresh, homemade and absolutely delicious…the first time around. I spent the rest of the day (even after dinner) re-tasting the pizza and I can promise you that it got worse with every burp. And I seemed to burp more (lady like burps, of course) yesterday than usual (and isn’t that always the case?). The more I tried to fight it – teeth brushing, eating other foods, gum, etc. – the worse it seemed to get. It was in my attempt to stop the re-tasting of the once-lovely pizza that I realized that these experiences with our meals are much like sin and good deeds in our lives, and how beautiful to realize this during Lent.
Let me spell it out:
Sometimes we “eat” good things, we put ourselves in good situations. We go to Mass, we spend some time in the chapel, we pray our Rosaries and life is beautiful. When we eat good things, we burp good things. As a result of going to Mass, etc., we are more peaceful, joyful people. Life is good.
Sometimes we “eat” things we think are good, they taste good at the time. We sleep a little extra instead of going to Mass. We go out with a friend instead of going to confession when we know we should go get our souls cleaned. The things we “eat” seem good at the time, but when we burp we discover they weren’t that good in the first place. We don’t start our day with Mass so we get annoyed at the car in front of us in traffic, then we get annoyed with our co-workers and the bad day snow-balls into a horrid day. We had a great time with our friend but because we didn’t go to confession we keep adding sins to our already long list of sins and our souls remain dirty. The burps taste worse and worse.
Sometimes we “eat” bad things. We go out and party, we drink too much, we gossip, we spend too much money, etc. We know these things aren’t really good for us and we do them anyway. And yet for some reason we are shocked when the burps taste bad. We oversleep our alarm clocks and are late for work, we spend the day fighting a hangover, we hurt someone with our gossip, we don’t have enough money to pay for our car payments or for food to eat. We eat bad things and we burp bad things. We try to cover up this bad burp taste by stopping the partying, the drinking, the gossip, the over-spending, etc., but the bad taste hangs around. It gets a little better but it still stinks overall.
Perhaps you find yourself “burping” more often lately, you find yourself re-tasting all of the bad things you have “eaten”. Maybe that is God telling you to “eat” things that are good for you. Maybe that is God telling you, constantly (perhaps even annoyingly) reminding you that you need to clean up your breath and what you “eat” in life or its just going to keep getting worse.
What gets rid of the bad burps? Confession. It is the breath-mint, the mouth-wash for the soul. It cleans our soul so that we are more disposed to “eat” truly good things so that when we “burp” we enjoy them because we “ate” good things in the first place.
How do we keep the bad burps from coming back, because God knows we are bound to “eat” things that aren’t always good for us? Keep “eating” Confession. “Eat” as many good things as you can this Lent and throughout the year. Cling to the Sacraments, to grace, to prayer, to people who challenge you to be a better person. Surround yourself with happiness, joy, love, peace. “Eat” His word. And when you fail to “eat” something good for your soul, or when you find that you have “eaten” something that you thought was good for your soul but really wasn’t…”eat” Confession. Eat it up like it is holy, Heavenly candy. Because it is. Then, let your breath be fresh and rejoice in your good tasting burps as the Heavenly Father wants you to.