Wednesday, March 21, 2007

"Breaking the Fast"

I have been thinking lately about just that, " breaking the Fast". We usually confess to this when it pertains to food or drink, things that we physically put into our bodies. In actuality, isn't it also the abstinence from those other vices as well? I find that this Lent I am learning a bit about how little food I need to function just as well as when I am eating all that meat and dairy, I think doing even better, but that it is a good lesson that just because it tastes good, I should not have another helping. The fasting from foods is to help teach us about the more spiritual aspect of our lives, the realities, if you will. To become upset that we have done something in our own control that is against what we know to be right can be useful OR harmful...if we choose to get upset but do not learn from and/or change the behavior then it is to our demise, but if we can at least be grieved but productive with it we can begin to overcome those things which keep us. It is my understanding that we are always supposed to do our best, not the best that we have ever done or possibly ever will, but our best that we can at that moment. We should be capable of making decisions that reflect our self-control and foresight, allowing us to choose as wisely as possible, the best avenue at the time. We are called to pay attention, be alert to our spiritual state and how we allow it to effect our body and mind. I like a couple of quotes about fasting, the first is by Hyperechios, "It is better to eat meat and drink wine, and not eat the flesh of one's neighbors through slander." And from Elias the Presbyter, "Some are most careful about the foods they take in, but negligent about the words they give out." I know they are similar, but I like them because they show us that we have to pay attention to every aspect of our being, that through fasting we do not somehow overcome all of those things at our disposal but are given the tools to learn better to control ourselves and keep our energies for more worthy tasks such as prayer. We learn to truly be moderate. It must be learned over time and through prayer, with God's help we can accomplish anything, but we must choose well what those things are.
I am only a lay person but I do hope that I am learning what I am supposed to and am able to apply it properly. I have often been a person who learns things the hard way and it is still often thus, but I do hope that it will not always be so difficult to understand things better the first time around. I am continually telling my daughter that I don't want to have to tell her again and would appreciate if she do something right away when I ask her the first time, some advice often given and far less often followed. What infinite patience and love for us God must have to continue over and over to allow us opportunites to live up to our potential! For that I am grateful.


Marfa said...

I have a cute little story on "fasting" for you...Olivia (who is 3) asks each day if it is a fast day...and thinking about what she wishes to eat (she loves eggs) she will usually respond "I am slowing today."2