Credit: Patheos, patheos.com
The hunger game: the challenge of fasting during Lent
March 5, 2014 By Deacon Greg Kandra
We realize during Lent that we are flesh and blood. The season begins with smears of ash, a foreshadowing of what we will become and a reminder of what we are. We are dust. We are human. We have weaknesses, urges, desires. During the Lenten fast we realize, too, how easily we can succumb — how spoiled we are by a culture that manages to deliver decadence to our door (OK, maybe it’s just a big sausage pizza).
I was doing perfectly fine, sitting at the diner, scanning the menu and steadfastly determined to have a tuna melt for lunch … until someone at the table next to me made a fateful decision.
They ordered a cheeseburger. It was all downhill from there. It arrived at the table, oozing melted cheese, heaped with French fries, the air fragrant with the faint aroma of just-broiled bacon. My salivary glands kicked into overdrive and before I could stop them, my lips were forming the words: “I’ll have the burger deluxe.”
Several minutes later, swabbing the ketchup from the plate with the last French fry, I heaved a deep sigh. I found myself once again back at square one, trying to maintain my Lenten fast.
Year after year, as the winter chill lingers and we wait expectantly for Easter, I am forced, like so many people, to confront my own weaknesses. Lent, I’ve discovered, is a period not only to pray and do penance; it’s also a time to look more deeply at my faults and consider more seriously the temptations that could be as close as the corner deli.
We realize during Lent that we are flesh and blood. The season begins with smears of ash, a foreshadowing of what we will become and a reminder of what we are. We are dust. We are human.
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