Saturday, March 11, 2017
When fasting it is always important to keep the reason for practicing the spiritual discipline in the forefront of our thinking. Otherwise, the whole experience is likely to turn into something which has little spiritual value. When we come to the moment of not eating, what happens is important and reveals what really motivates us. For example, if we come to the meal we have chosen not to eat and simply use it as time to get more work done, we have missed the mark. Or, if we silently pat ourselves on the back for being able to go so long without food, we have once again missed the mark. What might seem like stomach work to some is really heart work.
We must remember why we fast. What is our goal? If our goal in fasting is to be more conscious of the presence of God in our daily life, then the moment of not eating should bring this to mind instead of our thinking we have more time to work. Instead of working, reading the Word during the time normally used to eat would be an appropriate move. Or, perhaps, the time could be used to draw aside into a quiet moment for prayer. It is not enough to choose not to eat. It is not enough to do without something. What we put it the place emptied by the fasting says volumes about the real reason for our fasting.
One thing which often happens in fasting is that the moment of food deprivation can become a moment for letting our mind and heart move toward God. As the food starts toward our mouth and we remember why we said we were not going to eat it, the very moment of choosing to fast becomes a moment filled with divine possibility. In our hunger and desire for food, we can begin to catch a glimpse of what a life is like when it hungers for God. It is this person that fasting enables us to see.