Posted on March 11, 2019 by Nancy Schmitt
“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led
by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted
by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when
they were over, he was famished.”
Over the centuries, the 40 days of Lent have become for Christians a time to look deep within ourselves to find those places where we need to seek forgiveness, repentance, reconciliation, and healing. It is also a time of preparing for the celebration of Easter through the disciplines of prayer, worship, giving, serving, study, and fasting.
Of these disciplines, fasting is probably the one we do least or understand the least about. Fasting during the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness involved not eating, but our discipline of fasting may take other forms. For example, fasting might take the form of an online fast. Perhaps we unplug from cell phones, e-mail, texting, and social media for one day a week or other designated time in order to give ourselves more time for the other practices of prayer, worship, giving, serving and study.
Or, in the words of Pope Francis:
Fast from hurting words and say kind words.
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 heart 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.
However we live out the disciplines of Lent, the point of the practice is to help us take a deeper look within ourselves, make space for hope and feast on the goodness of God’s love and grace so we will be drawn closer to God.