Fasting is the second pillar of Lent. Many religions have a component of fasting as part of their spiritual practice. The experience of intentionally abstaining from something we normally use or enjoy brings about a mindfulness of our blessings and our need for self-control. It also makes room for something new to fill us.
As Christians we know that Jesus fasted. We also know he prayed “give us this day our daily bread.” He was acutely aware that to have what one needs for survival each day is no small thing. Despite the false sense of security our modern comforts provide, it is important that we too remember the fundamental needs all living beings require to exist.
For the purposes of deepening our sacred journey during Lent, let us contemplate what our daily “bread” is, whether actual food or another form of nourishment, and how we might regulate our consumption of it to bring into focus our reliance upon it.
Through the absence of these provisions we can grow in awareness that ultimately all sustenance comes from Our Creator. We are dependent creatures indeed.
Fasting is not for deprivation’s sake but for the purpose of fostering a positive change in us. In addition to reminding us of what we are grateful for in our lives, it can also empower us to remove that which blocks us from alignment with the Holy Spirit. The discipline fasting calls for teaches us how to show up differently in our lives. For example, it might lead to a clearing away of that which no longer serves us or a redistribution of personal resources. Whatever the case, fasting can help us learn how to declutter our lives. When we remove the nonessentials, we discover a space within us where we can connect more deeply to Sacred Wisdom. Theologian Joan Chittister says, “Lent is the time to let life in again…” In order to do that we need to make room. Fasting can help with this.
May you be inspired!
Note: For the full reflection on the three pillars of Lent visit Tau Center’s “Still Point: Journey of Lent 2022.”