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Other Ways of Fasting

Director’s Reflection

Dear Companions on the Journey,

For this First Sunday of Lent, I steal shamelessly from my Paulist brother Tom Ryan’s list of “Alternative Forms of Fasting.”  Tom distributed these at a Twilight Retreat in 2019:

Fast with your eyes:  a little less TV, video, and staring at your computer screen or smartphone; a little more introspection and reflection on your life through keeping a journal.

Fast with your ears: listen less to your iPod, radio, CDs; listen more to your own inner heart and spirit.  Be keenly attentive to the words of others.

Fast with your mouth:  take just one helping.  Less processed foods, appreciate simple food and drink water.

Fast with your hands: back off from things that agitate you.  Take time to just sit and reflect, to rest and observe.

Fast with your feet: become more attuned to the modern compulsion to be always on the “go.” Offer yourself a daily quiet half-hour of reading that nourishes your spirit.  Make more time available to welcome others to your home.

Fast with your body:  attach less importance to external fashion and make-up.  Reclaim your natural hair and skin color.

Fast from anger, resentment, bitterness: get to the bottom of why you’re angry or resentful.  What’s the hidden demand underneath? Pray for the grace to forgive those who have hurt you.

Fast from judging others: unhook from conversations in which others are being disparaged, or contribute something positive to balance the negative things that are being said.

Fast from complaining: when you’re feeling inclined to complain, stop and look at all you are blessed with and give thanks instead.

Fast from glossing over your losses too quickly: allow yourself to feel the emptiness, the ache, the absence.  Take the time to do the inner work of grieving; resist the quick but superficial emotional fix, the easy fill.

What do you think?
And let us pray for one another,
Michael McGarry, C.S.P.