I don't like fasting. I'm of Italian heritage, and we like our food. This Lent I'm trying to fast on Fridays by skipping lunch. I have had some difficulty doing this. Last week I gave in and add some food (still not a whole lunch, but not what I had planned). Today I made it, with some help from the wisdom of others.
Fr. Mark, a Benedictine monk from the Tulsa, OK diocese has a wonderful blog, Vultus Christi. In his entry from February 23, he says that each Lent he chooses a saint (or actually, he asks the Lord each to choose a saint for him) to be his companion for the season. I thought that was an excellent idea. I am trying to walk with St. John of the Cross this Lent. Currently, I am reading his Sayings of Light and Love. Here are a couple of passages that are relevant for fasting:
If you make use of your reason, you are like one who eats substantial food; but if you are moved by the satisfaction of your will, you are like one who eats insipid fruit. (#46)
This way of life contains very little business and bustling, and demands mortification of the will more than knowledge. (#58)
Feed not your spirit on anything but God. Cast off concern about things, and bear peace and recollection in your heart. (#81)
I also thought about Philippians 3:19. Speaking of "enemies of the cross of Christ":
Their end is destruction, their god is the belly, and they glory in their shame.
Finally, I started taking a course in moral theology last night, and we discussed values. I thought to myself today, which do I value more, my God or my stomach?
When I am weak, I try to remember that I cannot do this (or any other thing) on my own. I need God's strength. I think of Habakkuk 1:11:
...guilty men whose own might is their god!
And so I will continue to try to learn the lessons of fasting, which Christian tradition highly values as a path towards God.