Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Friday Fast

This is what I'm giving up for Lent this year--food on Fridays.  It may seem a little extreme, but when you consider that there are people in this world who have to go without food involuntarily for days, it isn't so bad.  I actually failed Friday April 1st, and ate midday on.  But I have made it every other Friday so far.  It works out well, because according to official Catholic practice, we are not to eat meat on the Fridays of Lent.  If I don't eat anything on Fridays, then I definitely won't eat meat.

An official fast, according to Catholic practice, is to eat two small meals and one normal meal for the day.  For some reason, though, moderation has never gone well with me.  That kind of a fast, in some ways seems more difficult because you really have to pay attention to what you do.  It's more like a healthy diet than a fast.  Perhaps that's why they encourage people to do it.  You end up not feeling very deprived.  Either way, one day of fasting won't make much of a difference on the scale.  If I were really intent on losing weight, I would do well to do my fast on Fridays and the official fast the rest of the week.  People often think that religious rules are so severe, but sometimes we're harder on ourselves than any outside institution would be.

But imagine if I had to fast, not by choice, but because there was no food.  The kind of fasting that people throughout the world in poorer countries have to do.  Or what if I was deliberately deprived of food by a brutal dictator, as is the case in Libya.  After a few days of fasting, I would probably quit expressing myself and fighting for ideals.  Fasting by choice can only give me a small insight into the frailty of us humans.  So, then, a fast should lead to gratitude for that which I do have.  For me, it is only a personal choice.  For some, it is beyond their ability to control.

No comments: