It can be embarrassing to admit that fasting isn’t easy. We feel like spiritual and physical wimps. It’s true that we’ve been incredibly blessed and that many of us have never known real hunger, real starvation. But when the Church gives us a few days a year to practice fasting, we may cringe at the thought.
Eastern Rite Catholics like myself begin Lent two days before Roman Rite Catholics every year. And so our fasting day was yesterday. As I was driving to work this morning, I got the idea of sharing some tactics with my Roman Rite brothers and sisters to help in their survival of fasting and abstinence tomorrow.
Offer It Up – When your stomach begins begging for food, remember that the small physical pain is meant to draw us closer to the Crucified Christ. Offer up each stab of hunger in reparation for your sins and the sins of the world. You can also offer it up for a particular intention – a fallen away Catholic family member, a friend addicted to drugs, even for yourself to overcome a sin.
Be Grateful - Thank Our Lord that you don’t have to feel this way every day. He has blessed your life and our country with such an abundance of food. And in addition, He’s given us such amazing variety to choose from!
Switch The Focus – Don’t concentrate so much on how hungry you are, how you can’t wait for the day to be over, how you wish fasting on Ash Wednesday wasn’t obligatory. Focus on the offering it up, focus on the being grateful…. focus on learning patient endurance!
Remember those who do live day in and day out in a state of hunger. Do what you can through your prayers and financial blessings to help feed them.
May God be with you in your fasting!