From our pastor, Father Neil Herlihy:
This past week we were blessed with the words and wisdom of Dr. Allen Hunt during our Lenten Parish Mission. Dr. Hunt spoke eloquently and from the heart about God’s promises to us. Through powerful stories and vivid examples, he reflected on our responsibilities in this life, and about the eternal life that awaits us with our loving Father. He reminded us how important the season of Lent is to our spiritual journey.
Catholic author and educator, Christopher West, in a recent article, also focused on the importance of the season of Lent. He called for a proper understanding of fasting from a Christian perspective during this special time. As we well know, Catholics around the world traditionally embrace various forms of fasting in preparation for the holiest week of the year. Proper motivation is essential to our fasting efforts. Mr. West made the point that Scripture describes heaven itself as a feast and only those who know how to fast properly know how to feast properly. Our Catechism also reminds us that we fast, first of all, to “prepare us for the liturgical feasts.” We tend to think of fasting primarily in terms of physical fasting. The use of physical fasting certainly can be admirable. However, fasting does not always have to be physical but should always lead us to feel our spiritual hunger, that is, our hunger for God. Fasting, if done for the appropriate reasons, is good for our spiritual life.
The following spiritual guide titled “How to Fast” prepared by a prominent Catholic organization provides some direction for us in what we should fast and feast for in ways that are not physical:
How to Fast
Fast from judging others; Feast on Christ dwelling within them.
Fast from apparent darkness; Feast on the reality of light.
Fast from pessimism; Feast on optimism.
Fast from thoughts of illness; Feast on phrases that purify.
Fast from anger; Feast on patience.
Fast from worry; Feast on Divine Providence.
Fast from unrelenting pressure; Feast on unceasing prayer.
Fast from negatives; Feast on positives;
Fast from complaining; Feast on appreciation.
Fast from hostility; Feast on non-resistance.
Fast from bitterness; Feast on forgiveness.
Fast from anxiety; Feast on hope.
Fast from yourself; Feast on a silent heart.
As we reflect on this guide, we are challenged to truly find spiritual motivation in our fasting and our feasting as our Lenten journey continues.