Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Use the following meditation to help you reflect more deeply on the Scripture (you may want to read the passage again).
In the last couple of years, I seem to hear more advocacy for fasting and how beneficial it can be to the body. It seems to be getting even more popular for those who desire to have a permanent healthy lifestyle, rather than a mere temporary diet so that one would lose weight. You can find many articles and videos in the social media advocating for fasting and explaining how it works, and many of these take their roots from our own religious practices.
In our gospel today, our Lord talks about the practice of fasting not for the purpose of losing weight. Neither was he advocating for fasting for a healthy physical lifestyle but rather for the sake of mourning.
As Catholics, we have been accustomed to our practice of fasting during Lent. The popular practices of giving-up chocolate or alcoholic beverages has become an excuse for many of us to truly see the value of experiencing hunger for the sake of loving.
There is a need to rediscover that our Lenten observances are simply an imitation of the Lord's 40 Days in the desert, abandoning comfort for the sake of communion, of friendship, of His relationship with the Father.
Fasting can be very beneficial for our body but Jesus is telling us today, there's more than bodily benefit in fasting. This Lent, rediscover the value and benefits of fasting, all in the service of a deeper and intimate friendship with our divine Bridegroom, Jesus.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
These questions are to be used to talk to God; have a conversation with the Lord about these questions and what is going on in your heart as you pray today.
Have you chosen to fast from a particular food or group of foods for Lent? Is it about growing closer to the Lord or trying to get into a new habit for your health?
Have you considered fasting from an action or activity, such as using your phone or complaining?
What do you hope to gain from your Lenten fast?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
In this step, you listen. Stop talking, let God speak to your heart. You may repeat one of these short phrases to focus your mind on the Lord.
"I'm sacrificing for you Lord."
"All for you."
"I want to grow closer to you Lord."
Step #5: Actio / Act
In light of today's reading and your time spent in prayer with the Lord, what concrete action or actions will you take to let this encounter with the Lord bear fruit in you today?
We're three days into Lent, it's not too late to reevaluate and determine if the Lord is calling you to add to your fast. You could also choose to add something additional on just particular days. We're called to abstain from meat on Fridays, why not add fish to your fast today as well?
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Today's prayer was prepared by Fr. Ervin Caliente, priest of the Diocese of Rockford.
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