I’m fasting today in observance of Ash Wednesday. A friend of mine left a message on my voicemail asking me to have a Fat Tuesday drink with him and calling Lent “Guilt Season,??? but I think he missed the point.
I don’t feel guilty all season. I let go of bad habits and I stop doing some pleasantries as homage to Christ’s time in the desert. Great prophets and leaders from every group observe self-denial as a cleansing. MK Ghandi fasted to protest and obtain rights for others. My fast probably won’t free a nation, but it definitely makes me more contemplative.
I fast by denial of food for Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. I observe a half-fast every Friday, all year long. I used to do a full fast, but realized that eating fish symbolizes being a “fisher of men.???
I also fast through denial. I’m shirking television for Lent: no TV, not even cooking shows. I can still watch movies. But my TiVo will be lonely. I’m also not allowing myself to use vending machines; all my change goes into a change jar for the child I’m sponsoring in Haiti.
However, early in my catholic schooling, we learned that Lent could also be used to start positive habits. I am going to hand-write, on actual paper, one letter per week to family and friends. I will read my Magnificat (prayer book) daily. I will finish my chore list every single week.
These things are not extremely difficult. But they do require me to shake my daily habits and remind me of my faith. I’m nicer to people. I’m more centered. I feel healthier at the end of the season and prepared to celebrate Easter.
Is anyone else doing anything?