25 Mar 2023  |   04:56am IST

Do you want to Fast?

Molly Fernandes

The Lenten period urges us to cater to the spiritual health. The last two seasons of Lent we had ample of quotes from the Bible that reminded us about the uproar of Covid-19 pandemic. The social media was full of relevant Bible verses or quotations, like Isaiah 26: 20 Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by, etc

The observance of Lent is in a way to retrain our souls and our bodies, our thoughts, and our senses. By small hardships strive to recover the integrity that God intended for us and regain our lost graces. And this is well done by prayer, fasting and almsgiving. In fact the spiritual health, reminds and challenges us, saying, the things of the world are not bad, they are good, precisely because God created them, so that we might take delight in them and have our needs fulfilled and not satisfy our greed!!!.  

According to Philip Endean SJ, “Lent cannot be a time for wallowing in the negative. The English word ‘Lent’ comes from the same root as ‘length’. Lent, the time of spring’s first stirrings, is a time for our being lengthened. We are to grow into the full stature of Christ, to move nearer the kingdom prepared for us before the world’s foundation. It may be very noble, and may meet some psychological need within ourselves, to think about Lent as our trying hard, as Lent being our effort. But when we think that way, the focus is probably on ourselves. What Lent is really about is opening ourselves to someone else, about stretching ourselves, so that we can receive the gift of new life coming from God alone”.

During the time of Spring (Lent), there are practices where one prefers to fast on food, give almsgiving and recite some prayers. But this is not the fast the Lord is asking of us! As a thought comes to mind “what is the food you wish to give up this Lenten observance?” And an well deserved answer that was running in my mind was uttered by someone else: “don’t think of fasting or giving up food rather fast on - which St. Paul speaks in Gal. 5: 19ff: fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, enmities, strife, jealousies, wraths, factions, divisions, parties, envying, drunkenness, revelling, etc.

While Pope Francis articulates the same asking the faithful: Do you want to fast this Lent? Then 

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 have trust in God.

Fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity.

Fast from pressures and be prayerful.

Fast from bitterness and fill your hearts 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.

This Season of Grace reminds us that “every moment of our lives is a time for believing, hoping, and loving,” As Pope Francis says: “The call to experience Lent as a journey of conversion, prayer and sharing of our goods, helps us – as communities and as individuals – to revive the faith that comes from the living Christ, the hope inspired by the breath of the Holy Spirit and the love flowing from the merciful heart of the Father.” So, do you want to fast this Lent? Then…


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