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Ash Wednesday (EWB)

I am grateful when Ash Wednesday arrives each year. I wasn't going to fast from sweets and soda pop this year. I did not think the Lord was calling me to do this type of fast or to be really honest I never asked Him. However I was in the adoration chapel today praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and right in the middle of praying this beautiful Chaplet, the Holy Spirit gently whispered “you could give up sweets and soda pop for Lent.” It was a very peaceful urging and I knew that “yes” I can fast from these two minor delights in my life for the next 40 days. For those who know me giving up sweets especially chocolate is a huge sacrifice for me. Soda pop is not so difficult to fast from. It seems when I allow my physical body to fast from certain “delights that I enjoy,” it helps me to plug into the spiritual aspect of my life. For my spiritual exercise during Lent, I am reading and meditating on Margaret Rose Realy's book Cultivating God's Garden through Lent. There is a reflection for each day of Lent. Ash Wednesday's reflection spoke to my heart. She stated, “Like many Christians, I give up something during Lent. I don't remember exactly when the concept took hold, but at some point I chose to do something rather than not do something. One year during a late winter retreat a small handout was distributed and the idea of giving up or fasting took on a whole new purpose.” The handout listed the following ideas:

  1. Fast from bitterness; turn to forgiveness

  2. Fast from hatred; return good for evil

  3. Fast from complaining; be grateful

  4. Fast from negativism; be positive

  5. Fast from pessimism; be an optimist

  6. Fast from harsh judgments; think kindly thoughts

  7. Fast from worry; trust in Divine Providence

  8. Fast from discouragement; be full of hope

  9. Fast from anger; be more patient

  10. Fast from pettiness; be more mature

  11. Fast from gloom; enjoy the beauty around you

  12. Fast from jealously; pray for trust

  13. Fast from gossiping; control your thoughts

  14. Fast from sin; turn to virtue

Wow! If I could incorporate and put into practice all those listed, I would be headed for sainthood in no time at all. Okay-back to reality. I know that I can manage to work on a couple of these during the next 40 days while pondering each of these during my prayer time. I also decided that I would incorporate three physical aspects in my life this Lent: E.W.B- Exercising ( stretch exercises), Walking my dog Annie and riding my stationary Bike (which right now is collecting dust.) E.W.B seems so easy to put into practice but for me it requires perseverance to begin the journey each day of taking better care of my body which is the temple of the Holy Spirit. I may fail at times but I know God's mercy and forgiveness are available to me and each day is a “do over.” 

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Nancy HC Ward | Reply 21.03.2014 15:30

I agree with Leslie! Thanks for the great list of items to fast from that we neglect in our focus on our bodies. I'm sharing this on facebook.

Leslie Lynch | Reply 06.03.2014 17:06

Connie, I love the list of negative attitudes from which to fast, and the virtues to employ instead. A similar list has lived in my brain for many years.

Katie | Reply 05.03.2014 21:58

Hi Connie-the list you posted are great suggestions for fasting. I also like the idea of fasting from sweets to at least practice a little denial to the body. K

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Latest comments

21.06 | 13:10

So true.

28.02 | 07:56

Yes -- be quiet and listen.

14.02 | 12:50

Well said

13.02 | 19:05

Not so easy.

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