What About Fasting? A Lenten Thought
Sharon, a seven year old, asked her Grand-mom, "When I get older, do I have to fast?" Grand-mom answered, "Yes. Once in a while! Then Sharon looked at her Grandmother quizzically and said, "What is it?" This is surely a question many people Sharon's age and older still ask. Is fasting in or out? Do we still fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday? Yes, but it’s more than counting how many sandwiches we eat that day, or how many cups of coffee are too much.
Fasting reminds us that the empty spaces in our lives are to be filled for the "bridegroom who is coming," Jesus, the Lord.
So, yes we still fast during our Lenten Journey. Why? We fast so that something within us changes. Modern examples of fasting during Lent may be holding back our own opinions and listening more to what others think and say. Or letting go of long held hurts and in their place show more forgiveness.
Then there are the times we can curb our impatience and practice understanding or relinquish our fears of the future and trust more in the hope of God's eternal presence.
Yes, indeed, fasting is here to stay, but it is best used to help us grow and change from within. Francis de Sales agrees that change is first and foremost interior. Francis writes:
"For myself... I cannot approve the methods of those who try to reform a person by beginning with external things. On the contrary, it seems to me that we should begin on the inside."
A Reading from Matthew 5:15-16
You are the Light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Men do not light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket. They set it on a stand where it gives light to all in the house.