Fasting and Feasting During Lent

Even as a child, the season of Lent was one of my favorites of all the seasons of the Church year. Perhaps it was because Lent usually ushered in the season of warmth and new life—spring. As I became older however, I came to realize that the mysteries we celebrate during the season of Lent are the foundation stones upon which our rich Catholic faith is built. The Nativity of Jesus is of utmost importance, but had Mary said No instead of Yes, God surely would not have let a mortal interfere with his plans for salvation. Of course, Mary said Yes to God’s plan and we have both to thank for it.

Were you aware that Sundays do not count in the tabulation of the forty days of Lent? Lent does not include Sundays because Sunday is always a day for rejoicing in the Resurrection. Altogether, Lent covers 46 calendar days, the 40 days, plus six Sundays. Because Sundays do not count, a person could in fact, feast on what they chose to fast on for Lent. However, to do so, would run counter to the principle behind fasting in the first place. To fast from something that we like, is to offer a sacrifice. Jesus showed us that sacrifice is necessary for salvation. So fasting is always a good thing.

I remember receiving a document during my time in the seminary about fasting and feasting during Lent and although I must have thrown the original away, I was able to locate something similar on the good old World Wide Web. This version is from one of America’s most quoted writers of inspirational maxims, the late William Arthur Ward.

 

Fasting and Feasting

 

Lent can be more than a time of fasting. It can also be a joyous season of feasting.

Lent is a time to fast from certain things and to feast on others.

It is a season to:

Fast from judging others; feast on Christ living in them.

Fast from emphasis on differences; feast on the unity of all life.

Fast from apparent darkness; feast on the reality of light.

Fast from thoughts of illness; feast on the healing power of God.

Fast from words that pollute; feast on phrases that purify.

Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude.

Fast from anger; feast on patience.

Fast from pessimism; feast on optimism.

Fast from worry; feast on appreciation.

Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation.

Fast from negatives; feast on affirmatives

Fast from unrelenting pressures; feast on unceasing prayer.

Fast from hostility; feast on non-resistance.

Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.

Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others.

Fast from personal anxiety; feast on eternal hope through Jesus.

Fast from discouragement; feast on hope.

Fast from lethargy; feast on enthusiasm.

Fast from suspicions; feast on truth.

 

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