Fasting This Lent

Last year, for the first time, I fasted during Lent. I made Friday my fast day and fasted from sunup to sundown. It was an interesting experiment. Some days it wasn’t too hard, other days the hunger was intense, or I would get a bad headache by the end of the day. The point of fasting (especially as part of Lenten devotion) isn’t for it to be easy, though.

This past month, I spent 3 weeks sick with the flu and then bronchitis. During that time, I had little energy for anything and an appetite to match. Every day was difficult and it was even hard to sleep thinking about the things I had to do with such little resources. As I thought about fasting for Lent this year, I felt like I had already been through a fast-like experience. I wasn’t sure it would be good for my body as I healed to put it through the physical fast, so I decided against following the routine I began last year.

As I was searching for alternatives to the Friday fast, my wife passed along this list from Pope Francis to which our Associate Pastor had posted a link on Facebook. I’m trying to keep these guidelines in mind as I go through the season of Lent.

  • Fast from hurting words and say kind words.
  • Fast from sadness and be filled with gratitude.
  • Fast from anger and be filled with patience.
  • Fast from pessimism and be filled with hope.
  • Fast from worries and trust in God.
  • Fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity.
  • Fast from pressures and be prayerful.
  • Fast from bitterness and fill your heart with joy.
  • Fast from selfishness and be compassionate to others.
  • Fast from grudges and be reconciled.
  • Fast from words and be silent so you can listen.

A few of these, such as “fast from pressures and be prayerful” and “fast from worries and trust in God,” are especially meaningful to me this season. I hope I am able to keep them in my heart and mind and continue to cultivate habits that make them part of my life.

Canned Dragons by Robert Rackley
Made with in North Carolina
© Canned Dragons