Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Fasting - Exercise in Self-Discipline - Join Me?

"Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied."  Matthew 5:6 (NAB)

I used to think that this passage from the Beatitudes meant that those people in the world who naturally craved (hungered and thirsted for) justice would one day, in Heaven, be satisfied because our God is a just God. And He will ensure justice comes to pass. 

But it can be looked at differently, especially in the context of fasting and doing penance. Our Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops reminds us of our call to penance, suggesting we are to go hungry and thirsty for the sake of justice. I get it now. 

I invite you, on this first Tuesday and every following Tuesday of Lent, to hunger and thirst a little, out of your love for Christ.  Its an opportunity to practise self-discipline, and isn't self-discipline what is required to develop and grow in virtue? St. Paul tells us that "every athlete exercises discipline in every way. They do it to win a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one." (1 Cor 9:25)

I received an email from a reader after my last post inviting you to fast, which I think reflects how many of us feel. She said she read the post and had an interior tantrum; she didn't want to fast because it would be too hard, and was indeed "pouting a bit." But then quickly made the decision to go for it. Yay! 

Let's lift each other up in the process. Maybe you'd like to share a specific prayer intention.  Maybe you'd like to keep completely anonymous. We are not supposed to flaunt our fasting and I hope you don't think I'm trying to do that here. I'm not. I'm trying to encourage.  It seems more "manageable" to do hard things when you are doing them with a friend or a faith community, yes? I don't know about you but I need that spiritual support coming through the airways!

How you fast is up to you of course. I'll be having my main meal after sundown, and two very small meals during the day. No snacks. Not a "hard-core-body-cleanse-type fast" but believe me, I'll feel the burn. I want to feel the burn. It will remind me to turn to God often. 

May our fasting make us stronger in the service of the Lord!


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