Why fasting and abstinence?  Sometimes we forget why we do certain customs.  The main reason to fast or abstain is not to suffer like Jesus did.  I think the reason to do either is to simplify our lives so we have more time to spend thinking about and being with God.  Way back in the good old days, just think how much time was spent on preparing meals compared to how much time we spend today. You had to make the fire, get the water, make bread from scratch, kill the animal, go buy the grain, etc. It took most of the day just to prepare meals; in those times, by fasting and abstaining from food, you simplified your life!

 A shorter grocery list means less time spent at the grocery store, to be sure.  What, then, do we do with that extra time?  The temptation could be to check email more often, or turn on the TV or Facebook feed.  What if, instead, we heard our stomach’s growling's as the call of God’s Spirit to pray?  What if we responded to our hunger pains by feeding others, or learning about those who hunger on a daily basis?

 Fasting and Abstinence is not meant to be a dieting plan. It is simply meant to be a way to open ourselves up to God’s life present in our bodies and souls, and in the lives of others.  Who knows – maybe you’ll want to spend some of the extra time at one of the study groups being offered?