Yesterday, I posted on the 5 ways to live the Call to Prayer during the Year of Faith. One of the things the bishops asked (i.e., strongly suggested) was abstinence from meat and fasting on all Fridays this year. (By the way, Friday starts tomorrow — just a reminder).
That’ right. You read it. You know what that means.
Now there are three ways to look at this. The most popular option would be to ignore it. Second most popular would be to rationalize it.
Least popular of all is to dig in and fast. In order to do this, we need not just motivation. We need the right motivation.
Now there can be numerous motives for fasting, but I’ve reduced them to 3.
- To lose weight
- To be a tough guy (or a pious guy)
- To unite yourself to Christ through this spiritual sacrifice
Motives 1 and 2 can work for some people, but they are not the most noble motive. However — here is the good news — even in the event that you do choose to fast because of motives 1 and 2, you can still get to motive #3.
Fasting, you see, purifies the soul. By making this sacrifice and longing for food, struggling with our weakness, offering up our belly aches and fatigue, we can overcome attachment to our selfish desires, purify our unnecessary attachments, grow in humility and — most importantly — grow in our love for Christ.
So, don’t wait until your motives are pure before you begin to fast. Get started right away with at least the mustard seed of an intention to grow spiritually, and through perseverance, you will reap the spiritual fruits you desire.
Remember, Jesus told his disciples, “I have food you know not of.” Join him in this fast and he will certainly share some of his lunch with you.