Thursday, February 18, 2010


Fasting is anything but fast. In fact it just drags on and on. Yesterday was a day of fast and abstinence and all I could think about all day long was breakfast on Thursday and how wonderful it was going to be even if it were just butter toast.

When I went to the University of Akron a few friends of mine and I used to fast during lent for three days on nothing but water and juice. What made it particularly challenging was that the Wonder Bread factory is located just off the campus and the smell of baking bread would often waft across the campus. That alone should have knocked some quality time off of purgatory.

Yesterday if you truly fasted you realized how much of our lives revolved around food. All day long I was presented with food that was sitting out. Even for things that I don’t like my body kept crying out, “There! That! You could eat THAT!” And what do you do in place of dinner time? Well, we played Scrabble. I won.

There are only two days on which we fast as a people: Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Wow. Two days of simple portions out of the whole year. The minimum for the fast is one full meal, a small breakfast and one collation or light meal if you are between the ages of 16 and haven’t yet celebrated your 59th birthday. That’s not a fast! That’s eating sensibly! I WISH I ate like that all the time then I wouldn’t be looking at my waist line thinking “Golly, I better start doing something about that.” . . . “Someday.”

If you want to pray, we are told, give alms. If you want your alms giving to mean anything, fast. If you fast, make sure that you pray. These are all interconnected and essential for great growth in the spiritual life. Discipline is directly related joy. It is directly related to joy because it is directly related to freedom. “Are we truly free or are we slaves to our desires?” is what our

And fasting can be done anytime. Skip that cafasting is asking of us. Can we say no? If we want to say no to the big things we must practice in the little things. If we want to say no to the little things we must occasionally challenge ourselves in the big things. ndy bar. Have water instead of pop. Do something constructive instead of watching T.V. or goofing around on the computer. Learn to fast and learn to live in freedom.


Adoro said...


Yesterday at work for some reason, even though we were all fasting, for some reason everywhere we went...there was food. We talked about food, about recipes, all unconnected things that wandered into our work day.

I did eat last night, but not much, and did have to give in to a small snack around 4 pm (getting the shakes), nothing huge and certainly didn't satisfy! But it was a challenge to say NO to myself and to all the little opportunities. And after my small dinner, it was a challenge to say no to all the other food in my house that would make a good snack! much revolves around food. I think St. Francis de Sales said something about that obsession with food, that we should always get up from the table still a little hungry, and that it was an abomination to be thinking about our next meal, etc. The point being...if we're not thinking about God, then what ARE we thinking about? ugh. (And I write this having just finished a big salad for lunch. the Saint's standards....I DEFINITELY am a glutton!)

A. L. Jagoe said...

Rather than giving up something for Lent, I prefer to add what I hope will improve my spiritual life, such as committing to daily examinaion of conscience, frequent visits for Adoration, additional acts of charity, etc. Then, hopefully these practices will continue after Easter.
Armiger Jagoe, editor of The Joyful Catholic

Adoro said...

It's hard to "add something" though unless something else is being given up.

We have to suffer during's how we become more conformed to Christ. But it seems everyone is so afraid of suffering, so afraid of the phrase "give up" that they run away from the "negativity".

Yet truly, in adding a practice, it means cutting something else out! Such as TV, leisure time, a sporting event, etc.

Or maybe I'm too much a Passionist.