Friday, March 7, 2008

Fasting to remember the poor

To fast is to deny oneself a certain good thing, because ultimately one desires to be filled, not by that food or drink, but by the Spirit of Christ. ...our sinfulness can corrupt our hearts and lead us not to love God, but rather to attend to created goods. Fasting is simply a way to discipline and remind the self that it can go astray, trusting more in the consumption of immediately available food and drink than in the promises of Christ.

The poor, however, mostly wrestle with a lack of food and drink, and so spiritually they are often called to heroic hope in the face of their sufferings. Their spiritual discipline is not fasting, per se, but, more immediately, hoping. As a full stomach can cloud over the reality of God's providence for the ungrateful wealthy, despair and depression can cloud the reality of God's presence with the poor. Food is not an accidental feature of our life; it is a necessity, and we have a right to it. Fasting from food may lead one to open a space for charity to the poor or to clear a place within one's self for welcoming God in prayer. (from Crossing the Desert: Lent and Conversion, 84)

In peace,

The Rev. Linda McCloud
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek

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