Reasons for fasting – Mar 8
The school bell has rung to indicate the start of the lunch period. After a prayer, Miss Lyndon dismisses her class, sits at her desk and begins reading her “Living Faith” booklet. Not long after, Standard Four pupil Jared, along with Kimmel of Standard One, stop by to pay her a visit. Both boys used to be in her Infants class.
JARED AND KIMMEL: Good morning Miss.
MISS LYNDON: Good morning boys, and how are you both today?
JARED AND KIMMEL: We’re fine, thank you Miss.
(The boys observe Miss Lyndon for a moment.)
KIMMEL: But Miss, how come you’re reading now? Aren’t you going to have lunch?
MISS LYNDON: No sweetheart. I’m fasting.
KIMMEL: Fasting…? Oh yes. I remember my teacher saying that fasting is a very important part of Lent. But I didn’t quite understand what fasting means.
MISS LYNDON: Generally, fasting means going without food or eating less.
KIMMEL: Going without food! But Miss you will die!
MISS LYNDON: Well, I do eat but I just eat less.
JARED: So Miss, are you freely choosing to fast from lunch?
MISS LYNDON: Yes I am.
JARED: For what Miss? I don’t understand why someone would voluntarily go without food and stay hungry when there are so many delicious things they can eat.
MISS LYNDON: Well child, fasting is not centered on staying hungry. It is much deeper. In fact, there are three major reasons why Christians fast.
The first reason to fast is because that is what God’s people have historically done before a decision, a serious situation or a problem.
KIMMEL: Fasting before a problem?
MISS LYNDON: Yes. For example in the Old Testament, Queen Esther fasted for three days with the Jewish people before going to see the King. Then, even though it was against the law she approached the King and told him about the evil plot of his adviser to kill the Jews. The King listened and the people were saved.
JARED: Wow. I didn’t know that Miss.
MISS LYNDON: Even Moses and Daniel of the Old Testament knew the value of fasting.
KIMMEL: What is the other reason for fasting?
MISS LYNDON: Second, Jesus fasted. Matthew 4:1-2 tells us that before His public ministry Jesus was led into the desert and was tempted by the devil while he fasted for 40 days and 40 nights.
(The boys hang on to her every word.)
MISS LYNDON: Third, when we fast we remove or get rid of our attachment to food and open ourselves up spiritually to God. Through fasting we tame or discipline our bodies. As a result we become more open to hearing, obeying and loving God.
KIMMEL: So fasting is a way of becoming closer to God.
MISS LYNDON: That’s right Kimmel.
JARED: That makes a lot of sense Miss. But do you have to give up lunch when you fast?
MISS LYNDON: Not necessarily. Fasting can be complete or partial, meaning fasting for a few hours on water alone, juice and water or bread and water. Or by taking one regular meal and two smaller ones. I even read that the time usually spent eating on a fasting day can be replaced with prayer like the Rosary, Mass, bible study or personal spiritual meditation.
KIMMEL: Oh. That’s why instead of eating you were reading your “Living Faith” Miss.
MISS LYNDON: Yes dear. You always were a very observant student.
JARED: Can children fast too Miss?
MISS LYNDON: Your bodies are different from adults since you have increased nutritional needs. Therefore the Church doesn’t require children to fast. The age limit is between 18 and 59 years. Pregnant women and sick people are also excused from fasting for the same reasons. However, instead of fasting, your Lenten sacrifice can be abstinence.
JARED: No Kimmel, Ab-sti-nence. Isn’t it related to fasting Miss?
MISS LYNDON: Yes. Abstinence is keeping oneself from doing something and, like fasting, it is also voluntary. Furthermore, adults who fast during Lent also abstain from eating meat on specific days.
Is there anything that you really love that you are willing to give up or abstain from for Lent? It may be a food, a treat or even a game.
JARED: I can abstain from playing my PS4.
MISS LYNDON: That’s good Jared. What about you Kimmel?
KIMMEL: I have to think about it Miss.
JARED: Don’t worry Miss. I will help him to make up his mind. Anyhow, we’re leaving now Miss Lyndon. Thanks for sharing with us.
KIMMEL: Bye Miss.
MISS LYNDON: See you later guys.