Day 9. Every spiritual heavy weight ever has practised fasting. It is a discipline. One that is certainly not easy and counter to the culture of excess we see paraded before us daily (that a lot of people desire, but can’t afford, and still try to acquire anyway). Fasting generally has to do with food and prayer & /or meditation of some kind. Done properly it is very powerful as a way to prepare for important events, or anything really.
Today has been a struggle for a number of reasons. One of those reasons is sometimes I get angry. I don’t know why, and it doesn’t make sense. So today has been about being not angry. Working on that. That is one of the things that Lent is about – working on things like not being angry.
I went looking for a reflection I wrote a couple of years ago on fasting. Thankfully I found it. Here it is.
“Oh. He’s praying and fasting again. Cesar Chavez is up to something.”
That is what they used to say when the man who co-founded the United Farm Workers engaged in sacred and spiritual activities. They knew that when he took time in prayer and fasting, that what would come next would be more of the work of social change and justice that Cesar Chavez was so well known for.
Chavez followed in a long line of people that connect their faith with works – Dorothy Day, Mother Teresa, Oscar Romero, Jean Vanier, Henri Nouwen, Thomas Merton, Desmond Tutu, and so many more whose names are not famous and well known.
It is interesting that the arguments around faith and works still continue in the Church, but here we are. If we understand our faith to be about our relationship with God and Jesus, then it makes sense that we should follow in Jesus’ footsteps and try as best we can to do what he did.
When we are not sure what to do, or what to do next, we pray. We listen for direction from God, and then we act. Sometimes we act alone, but usually we act together, as the Church, as the Body of Christ.
If you know what needs to be done, then go and do it, in faith. If you are unsure, pray, for God will surely tell or show you what needs to be done, and then go with the blessing of Jesus, and do likewise.
~postscript: trying to follow my own advice.