On Fasting: A Lenten Reflection
I recently posted this reflection on Facebook and it generated some interest, so Iâ€™ve reproduced it here for my readers.
Itâ€™s the time of year when many of us are thinking about fasting: hereâ€™s my two-centsâ€™ worth.
I donâ€™t place a lot of emphasis on fasting in my home, because when youâ€™re a single mother, youâ€™re fasting every day. We donâ€™t have much money, so my children hear, “No,” a lot more than most. They donâ€™t have many treats, so I donâ€™t like to ask more from them. When I have a special prayer-intention, Iâ€™ll fast - but my fast may look different from yours. Itâ€™s between God and me, and He seems to think thatâ€™s ok, because He often answers my prayers. This isnâ€™t the life Iâ€™d have chosen for us, but, thatâ€™s ok too, because, as Iâ€™ve always taught my children, the best fast is the one that God sends you.
Today is my eldest childâ€™s 30th birthday, but because weâ€™re estranged, I have to fast from making contact with her and my 4 little grandchildren. But thatâ€™s ok too, since I chose life for her under difficult circumstances, and that has borne the fruit of these five new lives.
Having said all that, I think there is a fast that every single visitor here could manage - itâ€™s not too hard, perhaps only one hour in the next 40 days or so. Everyone here could get themselves down to their local abortion facility to pray to end abortion; this is a fast from comfortable Christianity and armchair activism.
The ‘Fastâ€™ of Public Witness
This is a great fast. You may, for the first time, feel embarrassed to be a Christian, as you stand there praying. You may have your faith challenged, as you see the steady stream of parents walking in to have their child killed - but youâ€™re absolutely powerless to stop them. You may feel the sting of being seen as an extremist, as you try to live out your radical stance of being a pro-life humanitarian. But donâ€™t worry, none of this lasts.
As you fast from being respectable, or from being honoured for your intellect or wealth, you will find that these arenâ€™t really worth much anyway. They certainly wonâ€™t matter much in heaven.
The things that dishonour, obscurity or poverty canâ€™t take away from you will remain: faith, hope and love. These are the fruits of fasting that Iâ€™ve found in my family situation, and they are readily available for everyone during 40 Days for Life.