Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Yesterday, approximately 120 countries observed Easter Monday as an official holiday. Here in Massachusetts, we celebrated Patriot’s Day, and played host to the Boston Marathon. It was a glorious day for many reasons!
It is also time to wrap-up this blog (possibly until next year 🙂 ).
Thanks to all of you who visited and followed this site and who joined in daily or even occasionally to fast like it is 1917!
I hope those who followed the fast gained inspiration from the many beautiful saints, future saints and lay people who were profiled in the daily posts.
When Easter arrived Saturday evening and we celebrated Christ resurrection, I have to admit a part of me was a little lost. Some measure of me didn’t want the fast to end. I miss the fast already, especially how it focused and helped deepen my spiritual life.
From the beautiful new blog entitled, Beyond All Telling (https://beyondalltelling.com/2017/04/09/catholicity-is-what-we-receive/) :
“The Catholic Church is no cafeteria—it is a banquet table set with infinitely more graces than we can ever consume, so of course we will not be able to take in everything that is there and incorporate it into our bodily life. The more we go to the banquet, and the emptier our stomachs are when we go, the more we can consume, but receiving it all will take an eternity.”
Below I have compiled a list of 10 takeaways from the fast (please feel free to add your own in the comments section of this blog!):
- Fasting should not be considered optional or extraordinary. It should be woven throughout our entire year. Saint Francis of Assisi should be our inspiration in this respect. He fasted approximately 265 days out of every year! Keeping close to fasting keeps us closer to ourselves and God.
- Fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the year is a good way to do this. org is a great site that can help one live the fast all year long in this way! From the livethefast.org site as to why Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the year:
“Going back to the early years of the church, fasting took place on Wednesdays and Fridays. Wednesday is the day Jesus was betrayed by Judas, so we fast in reparation for all sins and offenses. Friday was the day Jesus died on the cross. Fasting on these days reminds of us of Holy Week and also prepares us to receive the Eucharist that was instituted on Holy Thursday during the Last Supper.
Our Lady of Medjugorje also call us to fast:
“The best fast is on bread and water. Through fasting and prayer one can stop wars, one can suspend the natural laws of nature. Works of charity cannot replace fasting… Everyone except the sick, has to fast.” (July 21, 1982)
“Fast strictly on Wednesdays and Fridays.” (August 14, 1984)
- Fasting improved my physical, mental and spiritual health. Overall, it gave me more energy throughout the day, better regulated my sleep schedule, made me a better father and husband, kept me sharper and clearer in thought at work and at home, improved my patience, kept me closer to those in suffering, kept me further away from temptation and sin, helped me to build a better interior spiritual space and allowed me to reconnect with myself in a deeper way.
- Fasting helped me identify and repent more sins. During the fast, I found sins underneath sins; and when I then repented those sins, a greater peace and grace enveloped me.
- I use to treat Lent like it was a race, one that you suffer a bit through until you hit the finish line, and then voila – you can go back to life the way it was. No longer. This Lent showed me how much beauty there is in the season, in the process. I appreciated the beauty of transforming, reawakening and deepening my faith this Lent, and that the goal is to attain “the true fast” from sin. That is what I plan to take with me now and beyond. Do not leave Lent behind. Keep a Lenten heart all year long.
- Stay close to the Church and its liturgical seasons throughout the year. They are beautiful, rich and glorious – they make life bright, much like this week, Bright Week!
- Make “all things new”, make your mark on the faith – keep it lively. Starting this blog was one of the most rewarding things I’ve done. It kept me focused and engaged in the season. Finding and digging into the fasting inspirations and providing comments daily was challenging at times, but that time was well-spent. I learned so much about our faith along the way, about the many great faithful who clung to fasting in their lives.
- Keeping a daily blog is difficult. I missed posting three times over the course of a 40-day period. Apologies for those who were following along and didn’t receive a daily update those three days. I pray your fasting didn’t stumble as a result!
- I overlooked the sin of gluttony and how it had been affecting my spiritual life until I started this blog/fast. Gregory the Great once said, “As long as the belly is unrestrained, all virtue comes to naught.” Saint Paul once said that “Their end is destruction,” for whom “their god is the belly.” Gluttony applies not only to food, but also to anything else we do not temper in our lives, like binge-watching TV, spending too much time on our digital devices, etc. I find typically when I don’t have a good grasp on how to tell if you are committing a sin or not, it is likely because I am doing it unknowingly or subconsciously. Saint Thomas Aquinas lays out a good list of boundaries to tell if one is engaging in gluttony with respect to food. In his Summa Theologica (Part 2-2, Question 148, Article 4), St. Thomas Aquinas reiterated the list of five ways to commit gluttony:
- Laute– eating food that is too luxurious, exotic, or costly
- Studiose– eating food that is excessive in quality (too daintily or elaborately prepared)
- Nimis– eating food that is excessive in quantity (too much)
- Praepropere– eating hastily (too soon or at an inappropriate time)
- Ardenter– eating greedily (too eagerly)
- We “need” much less food than we think to function. I was surprised at how little I could ingest and still fully function, sometimes even better than I had before with a lot of food. I think it is fair to say that the body is prone to overeat if food is around. Several times I would tell myself even during this fast that I would only eat one piece of bread or such and such, and lo and behold, after I ate one, I would almost unconsciously go and grab 2, 3 or 4 more. My body was/is just prone to satisfying wants and urges, and then rationalizing the need for them. Fasting is a big help in limiting that behavior.
Again, I hope others enjoyed Lent as much as I did. I am hoping to pick this up again next year, and until then, have a blessed Easter season and consider incorporating fasting into the rhythms of life!