Lent Series

Different Kinds of Fasting


Saturday, March 13, 2021

Different Kinds of Fasting

by Scott Stoner

Fast from words and be silent so that you can listen. —Pope Francis

Giving something up for Lent is a traditional practice observed by many. Fasting as a Lenten discipline also has a long tradition, which is where the idea of giving something up comes from. When a person takes on the practice of fasting, it is not to experience deprivation but rather to practice the discipline of delaying gratification, which is an essential factor in all dimensions of wellness. Fasting also helps to heighten the awareness of the nature of one’s true hunger, helping to clar-ify our need or hunger for spiritual, emotional, and relational wellness.

A few years ago, Pope Francis suggested the following list of things from which we can fast.

• Fast from hurting words and say kind words.

• Fast from sadness and be filled with gratitude.

• Fast from anger and be filled with patience.

• Fast from pessimism and be filled with hope.

• Fast from worries and trust in God.

• Fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity.

• Fast from pressures and be prayerful.

• Fast from bitterness and fill your hearts with joy.

• Fast from selfishness and be compassionate to others.

• Fast from grudges and be reconciled.

• Fast from words and be silent so that you can listen.Lent is an ideal time to be more intentional about holding fast to the habits, beliefs, and practices that ground and secure our lives.

Making It Personal: Have you given up anything for Lent this year? If so, how is that going for you? What are you learning as a result? Do you see a connection between any of these fasts with this week’s theme of listening to our neighbor? 

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