Thursday, March 18, 2010

Not Self-Punishment

"Linda, a medical assistant who was raised in a Roman Catholic family, remembers the Fridays of her childhood, when her family ate macaroni and cheese or Tuna Helper instead of meat.  She reflects, 'Fasting in my childhood was about self-punishment because we are all sinful.'  She does not fast today because she doesn't believe God wants us to punish ourselves.

"Linda is right that God doesn't want us to punish ourselves.  Fasting as self-punishment denies the freedom God gives us in Christ.  Fasting as self-punishment does not create space for prayer, give energy to our prayers or enable us to listen to God."
--Lynne Baab, "Fasting"

Please don't fast as a form of punishment!  Fasting is a gift - between you and God - to experience the love of God in new ways.

"Fasting provides time to back away from excess in order to pray.  In that backing away and in that praying, we often rediscover a healthier pathway for everyday life...  When we fast, we affirm that we are healthiest when we embrace rhythms.  Sometimes we need to celebrate abundance; sometimes we need to submit ourselves to discipline...  If we do it well, fasting more than any other spiritual discipline affirms the integral relationship between body, soul and spirit."

There are so MANY other reasons to fast...  please try to look past the old misconceptions and see it as something new - as a gift!

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