When I was a child, I was really good at fasting during Lent. If I gave up chocolate or other foods, I wouldn’t cheat. I never ate meat on Fridays. And it felt good. I liked knowing I was doing something for God. As I grew older, however, I lost my zest for fasting.
A lot of it had to do with my own thoughts and reasons for fasting. As a child, I would fast because that is what I was told to do. I wanted to do it because I wanted to be like the grownups around me who were preparing for Easter.
When I became older, I thought about fasting in more historical and logical ways. For example, I could understand the need for people to abstain from meat and fats so that there would be enough of a supply left.
Over the years I’ve wavered between fasting and not fasting during Lent dependent on a number of factors. I could not find a reason to really abstain once and for all. I have been thinking about that a lot lately. Especially because I received a beautiful note from Thomas, a reader who wrote, “Thanks to you, I am involved in Lent, and have been practicing Catholicism on a daily basis. I cannot thank you enough. Your words have inspired me. I am forever grateful to you.”
These words made me want to get even more involved in Lent myself. After contemplating on these words for a week or so, and thinking about fasting, I began to realize that fasting meant more than giving up food.
In fact, it’s not so much about the food at all, I think. It’s about slowing down your own thoughts and doing something for God and offering it up as a sacrifice to Him. It’s about making a choice to think about God at least three times a day and probably more, if you’re as hungry as I am (in the spiritual and physical sense) and focus on Him alone.
I hope that like Thomas, this kind of thinking spreads even more to my everyday life. What do you think about fasting? Is it hard for you? Please share as it may help other readers.