Today is Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent for the year 2020. I went about my day just like most days except that I went to church to hear mass and had ashes put on my forehead.
The priest during homily today said that fasting and abstinence is very personal. One does not need to show he or she is praying or fasting just because it is expected of him. The need to do so must come from the will to want to do penance.
I know not all Catholics observe the disciplines of fasting and abstinence. If ever we do, it’s not all one and the same. While fasting is the reduction of one’s intake of food (think IF or intermittent fasting) and abstinence is refraining from meat or any other food, fasting and abstinence can be applied to other things. Like reducing an activity or habit that is not a necessity or abstaining from things that give you added comfort/joy but is considered luxury.
If you follow me on Instagram I asked a question on my story: what will you give up for Lent? Most answers junk food, milk tea, sweets, even carbs. While some answered shopping, going out, even traveling. Personally I am giving up sweets (particularly my vegan chocolate chip cookies and chocolate bar) as well as shopping (those want but need items that I can live without). While these may seem easy—I mean how hard is it to let go of chocolates when there other sweet alternatives??! And as for shopping, isn’t it more motivating to be on a shopping ban because you get to save money?!Truth is, fasting & abstinence over food & habit one is used to having & doing can be challenging but what makes it more challenging is to make sure there’s an equivalent fasting & abstinence over one’s sinful ways. To abstain from being hot headed, quick to judge, making others feel inferior (without you realizing it). To abstain from anger, pride, jealousy. These kinds of spiritual fasting & abstinence is way harder to than giving up sweets & shopping.
Bodily fasting is meaningless unless it is joined with a spiritual fast from sin.
While it’s easy to say what bodily fasting I’m doing, I’m keeping to myself the spiritual fast I’ll be doing.
Leaving you instead this tweet by Pope Francis. Something to reflect on this Lenten season.
So have you thought about the spiritual fast you’re going to do this Lenten season? ☺️