Never thought I'd hear Simone Weil (1909-1943) mentioned from the ambo, but she was featured during a pre-Lenten homily about spiritual practice of fasting. I thought this somewhat odd.
For one thing, there's dispute among scholars about whether Weil, who died at age 34, had starved herself to death because of an eating disorder or a sense of solidarity with those starving in France under German occupation. Given the current prevalence of anorexia, I feel nervous whenever fasting from food is even remotely glorified by ministers.
Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of Weil's.
It should come as no surprise that I highly identify with this Jewish Catholic mystic social anarchist who was as enthralled by the Bhagavad Gita as she was by writings of St. John of the Cross. The collection of her writings titled, Waiting for God, had a profound impact on me when I first read it decades ago before seeking the sacrament of baptism.
No, not the part about George Herbert's poem, "Love," which was quoted in its entirety during the homily. I zoomed in on what Weil wrote to her spiritual director, Fr. Jean-Marie Perrin, about the Roman Catholic church: "What frightens me is the Church as a social structure."
Yeah, me too.
*For a beautiful, clear and sane introduction to fasting and abstinence, see what Concord Pastor has to say.