Here we resume our discussion of why fasting is so critically important to Lent. Also, just as a side-note, the reason that I feel so compelled to write about fasting is because fasting, just like all good works, bring us closer to God, which is what Above the Norm is all about. Any action can be turned towards God, and every act should be done for the Glory of God. Why else do anything?
The third thought concerning fasting and lent ties in to the second one. Fasting attacks sin. It is an individual attack on each of the Seven Cardinal sins. And, using our beloved Dante Alighieri’s ordering of these sins (which was actually created first by Pope Gregory I), we shall explore this more deeply.
Lust: Fasting attacks the sin of lust by purging ourselves of that desire. Quite frankly, it works on multiple levels. Fasting diminishes and deflates the idea that we should have whatever we want because we have humbled ourselves. Fasting also leads to the realization that we can live without these desires and that we are even better off without them. Finally, put bluntly, we are too hungry (for whatever we have given up) to notice and/or care about whatever it is we lust for. I remember having a conversation with a friend during a 30-Hour fast, and we both realized that we hadn’t wanted anything or even thought about wanting anything besides food. When you’re that hungry, it’s difficult to hunger for anything else.
Gluttony: This one should be perhaps the most obvious. During Lent, it is common to fast from something in which we overindulge often. Take food, for example. Fasting directly attacks gluttony because it is practically the very opposite of this sin. One cannot be gluttonous while fasting from that indulgence. Of course, this is not to say that there are other things in which to overindulge, and one must be careful not to do so while fasting.
And more to come.