Changing eating habits- real Fasting
Lent is a great time to change our eating patterns. This is not about “losing weight” or “getting in shape,” though for most of us, paying attention to what we eat, will make a difference in our overall health. This is about being more alert. Anyone who has tried to diet knows that something changes in us when we try to avoid eating. The monks in the desert, centuries ago, discovered that fasting – simply not eating – caused a tremendous boost to their consciousness. Not only did their bodies go on “alert,” but their whole person seemed to be in a more heightened state of attention. The whole purpose of fasting was to aid prayer – to make it easier to listen to God more openly, especially in times of need.
For us Catholics, the Church names only Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fast. (And that fast is simply to eat only one full meal in the day, with the other two meals combined, not equal to the one — this does not apply to the sick.) It seems that not only will I feel less sluggish and tired, I will feel simply freer and more energized.
The other powerful advantage of fasting is that it can be a very simple gesture that places me in greater solidarity with the poor of the earth, who often have very little more than a little rice and beans each day. Powerful things happen in me, when I think about those people in the world who have so much less than I do. And, it’s a great cure for self-pity.