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Fasting the right things

Updated: Mar 17, 2020

Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. Lent comes from the Anglo Saxon word lencten, meaning “lengthen” and refers to the lengthening days of spring. The forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry.

Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection. In the early church, Lent began as a period of fasting and preparation for baptism by new converts and then became a time of penance by all Christians. Today, Christians focus on relationship with God, growing as disciples and extending ourselves, often choosing to give up something or to volunteer and give of ourselves for others.

Today, many people observe Lent by giving up something, as their form of fasting. I’ve had friends give up coffee (boy were they cranky by the end of the first week), others have given up chocolate (also cranky).

I’ve decided this year that I will follow the guidance attributed to Pope Francis, though to be honest, I think I’ve seen this list prior to his election as Pope.

Fast from hurting words and say kind words.

Fast from Sadness and be filled with gratitude.

Fast from anger and be filled with patience.

Fast from pessimism and be filled with hope.

Fast from worries and put your trust in God.

Fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity.

Fast from pressures and be prayerful.

Fast from bitterness and fill your heart with joy.

Fast from selfishness and be compassionate towards others.

Fast from grudges and be reconciled.

Fast from words so you can be silent and listen.

May God bless you richly during this Holy Season of Lent.

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