It’s late evening on Ash Wednesday. You’re tired and hungry and wondering why, exactly, you’re doing this again. I recently came across this helpful little nugget in one of my retreat journals that might give you some much needed motivation:
Here (hopefully) is a little more inspiration for those suffering from fasting fatigue on this Ash Wednesday evening.
In fasting…we have a negative, self-denial of a sense-desire, a concupiscible appetite. At the same time (if we do not want to look gloomy) there must be a positive affirmation, a positive interior movement towards reverence for the body, holiness, and love. The key for this is given in Luke 5:35 where Jesus tells us, “The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.” Jesus connects the practice of fasting with love for the bridegroom. The desire for food becomes a desire for union with Christ–an attitude the Church has maintained from the earliest days. Indeed, the only current daily fast in the Roman Catholic Church is the fast before Holy Communion. We learn to relate the hunger pangs of empty stomachs with a preparation for Communion with Jesus Christ, the Divine Bridegroom. Fasting, like chastity, becomes a reverence for the Body. In short, given the motivation Jesus provides, in which fasting (like chastity) is an expression of longing and a preparation of the body for the Body of the Bridegroom, we might even say, “fasting is romantic.” In this light, we can better see how St. Benedict can encourage his monks “to love fasting” (and “to love chastity”) and we can see how Jesus can tell us not to look gloomy. Our growling stomachs are calling to us, “The Bridegroom is near! Let us go out to meet Him!”
From Fr. Boniface Hicks, OSB. Read the whole thing.
“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in mercy” -Ps. 103:8. Wishing you all a grace-filled Lenten season!