Wednesday, February 22, 2012

wimps and fasts; wimpy lenten fasts

"That's one thing I am ashamed of, as a Catholic convert," he said, "that the official definition of a daily 'fast' is one full meal and two small meals.  I mean, come on.  When I was a younger man, I wouldn't eat a thing all day on Friday, every Friday."

I rolled my eyes only later, once I got home and had an audience.  In the moment, however, I think I just stared and mumbled something about the lowest common denominator. 

Hey man, some of us are pretty happy that the standard hasn't been set impossibly high, okay? 

Yeah, sure, I admire the Orthodox (and whoever else) for being hardcore and not just abstaining from meat but fasting every Friday.  And they've got Lent named as the "Great Fast" because Advent is one, too (and maybe some other liturgical season I don't know about).  It's just that it is so hard and I am so very bad at it.  Also: what's the point, again? 

I had to go back and look it up: "Lent reminds us of our weakness. Of course, even when we set simple goals for ourselves during Lent, we still have trouble keeping them. When we fast, we realize we’re all just one meal away from hunger. In both cases, Lent shows us our weakness." 

Oh yeah, that. 

And there's more:  "This can be painful, but recognizing how helpless we are makes us seek God’s help with renewed urgency and sincerity...When we’re confronted with our own weakness during Lent, the temptation is to get angry and frustrated. “What a bad person I am!” But that’s the wrong lesson. God is calling us to be patient and to see ourselves as he does, with unconditional love."

Right lesson: Be patient with yourself.  Love the wimps.  Love your wimpy, hungry self.