Ramadan starts August 11th this year. I struggle with it every year. It isn't my tradition, but rather something I do so that my husband won't be observing alone. I don't like it. It's hard. I complain about it. I feel guilty for complaining about it. I know it's not the proper spirit with which to approach the experience. So I was struck in the heart while reading Esther deWaal's Seeking God when I came across this passage from The Rule of St. Benedict: "If a disciple obeys grudgingly and grumbles, not only aloud but also in his heart, then even though he carries out the order his action will not be accepted with favour by God who sees the grumbling, unless he changes for the better and makes amends" (5. 16-19).
de Waal goes on to say that "...obedience is really about love. It is our loving response to God which a murmuring response altogether wrecks...The outcome of obedience undertaken in these terms is that it brings with it an inner freedom." As the beginning of Ramadan approaches I'm still unsure of how exactly to put this into action. Obedience is not exactly my strong suit. Growth is not an all at once thing, I suppose, so perhaps acknowledging my reluctance to fast and the complaining spirit it brings out in me is a first step.