I recently read The Holy Way by Roman Catholic writer Paula Huston. In it, she discusses many of the spiritual practices of the saints and how they can be related to our modern-day lives. One particular chapter on fasting stuck with me enough that I made a decision (some days a regrettable one!) to fast one day each week.

I first chose Fridays as my day to fast, but quickly found it very difficult to avoid eating on Friday nights when events or social gatherings so-often brought me into the midst of food... it was too painful. And after a long week of hectic work and school, Friday nights offer my wife and I an opportunity for escape to a restaurant to unwind.

I find that if I have to explain my fasting to others, it becomes something of external focus - attention I want to avoid.

I've switched to Tuesdays, and so far it's been good. I think today is week four, and I hope to continue. It's amazing what a strong hold food can have over us - well-fed (over-fed) Americans with no danger of going hungry. By the end of the day, it begins consuming my attention and I have to continually pray that my day might be pleasing to the Lord, and that this small sacrifice of comfort would help my mind and spirit sharpen to the presence of God.

And I do find a sense of "sharpening" in the evenings of a fast - despite the stomach's attempts to grab my attention. It's almost a "buzz," whirring behind my ears. There's something to this fasting thing, though I can't quite put my finger on it...

Damn I could go for a greasy burger right now.

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1 comment:

nate said...

My wife and I fasted all meat during lent and all food on friday in response to Catholic literature. I feel your pain. Soy burgers just don't cut it.

But, it did center us and remind us of the incarnation and we saved money that was used for better purposes than food!

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