Fasting In The 21st Century
In our ongoing Lenten series, we are hoping to share some thoughts with you to make our penitential season more fruitful.
In past generations, there was no question that, especially during Lent, you prayed, and you fasted. Everyone did. And it was a valuable practice. Many have lost the value of these practices in the 21st century, but we ought to return to the Church to which our grandparents were so committed.
Fasting continues to be a necessary practice not for losing weight or a new health fad, but for a much deeper spiritual reason. The wellbeing of our souls.
So, let’s discuss how we can fast in the 21st century…
Certainly, we can fast and abstain from food and drink, such as abstaining from meat on Fridays. And this is good, it reminds us of that bodily mortification can increase our spiritual fervor. We should do this.
But, in today’s culture, I’d like to recommend some other ways to fast while preparing spiritually for the passion and Resurrection of our Lord.
- Fast from social media. Times are scary and opinions (with no fact behind them) are even scarier. Log off Facebook, Instagram, or any other app and simply call someone if you need to get in touch with them. They will be glad to hear your voice and you will be taking a break from the constant noise of the social media sphere.
- Fast from cable news. Far too many of us get riled up watching the pundits pontificate, why not spend that time in quiet prayer with the Lord? If you feel you need to keep up to date on the pandemic, limit your viewing to 30 minutes or less per day. That’s all you need to get the facts.
- Fast from technology outside of working hours. How great would it be if we communicated with each other in person or by talking instead of burying our noses in our smartphones?
- Fast from binge-watching shows on tv. How many hours can we spend glued to the screen when we could be engaging someone, serving, praying?
- Fast from online shopping. Limit trips to the store and buy only what you need. Do without unless something is a basic necessity. You’ll be surprised how much you can save for a greater cause in just a few weeks.
Those are just some ideas on what we can do this Lent in addition to fasting and abstaining from food.
Do whatever you feel called to do. You know the areas that are struggles in your life. Commit to these sacrifices with a spirit of thanksgiving that we can enter into this season with Jesus in this small way!