It seems like such an easy thing to do. Fast from a meal here, abstain from fish there. Pray a little more today, practice a little more kindness tomorrow. Easy, breezy, beautiful – WHAT THE HELL DO YOU MEAN I CAN’T EAT BACON?!?!?!? Now, most days I don’t have to have bacon. I can take it or leave it. (Most days. Well…some days. OK FINE!) I like sausage or bacon everyday for breakfast. I also prefer to have meat with my other meals. People that know me would chuckle. In the past, I have had the opportunity to fast. In fact, I have fasted for 4 days with no food or water. So why on earth is this an issue now?
• On the 4 day fasts I have participated in, I was sedentary. I was alone, in the middle of nowhere. There was not a large expense of energy. There were also no reminders of food or people. I was completely removed from everything. No food, no water, no people, no TV, no computer, no cell phone. This was absolute bliss. Well, it was bliss until I got soaking wet. This fast was done with a blanket and a tarp, in the country.
• The fasts I have done in the past have been about prayer. They had nothing to do with penance. Today when I fast on Friday, I usually am at work.
• I am a glutton. I ❤ protein. I love the satisfaction of feeling slightly over-full. I don’t like to feel hungry. It is a distraction.
That last sentence is probably the bell that rings the loudest. It is a distraction. I don’t get to stay in my cocoon of cozy bliss. It causes me to take notice of my body and what it has to say. It is not easy. It is a reminder. It reminds me to pray. It reminds me that I am undisciplined. It reminds me that the suffering of Christ was exponentially greater than my own feeble suffering.
I consider myself very lucky. I have had some individuals that have made great suggestions to me along the way. One of the best was to purchase the Magnificat Lenten Companion. It is a daily devotional based on the daily bible readings in the Missal. It also offers a daily penance. It is usually a small task that does not take much time. Today’s was, “Serve someone today with love.” A small task each day to remind me of how big God is, and how small I should strive to be. I would imagine that, taken over the long term, this could be a great way to incrementally grow in faith and service.