The Lenten slog, yes that is what I call it! The point in lent where we reach some sense of normalcy but still have to commit to those fasts. Something to consider this far into lent is that it is never too late to adjust and it is certainly never too late to begin anew! The point of lent is to become a new creation in Christ. Becoming a new creation in Christ also means allowing God’s spirit, the Holy Spirit to breathe life in you! Lent isn’t just one moment in which we pick a fast but a journey of renewal, a journey of faith. God’s creative force was used over a period of 7 days to create the universe, so with ourselves when we enter the process of renewal should be prepared to begin and begin again. Almost as much as being a prayerful person Christians ought to be expert at “beginning anew.”
There is a funny story about St. Francis of Assissi in which he went to fast for 40 days during lent on a small island. He brought three loaves of bread with him to eat those 40 days. On the last few days of his great Lenten fast he thought of Jesus in the desert and prayed. In his great humility he decided to eat half of one of the loaves that he hadn’t touched yet so that he would be humble and in deference to Christ who ate nothing for 40 days.
In some ways we can become awfully prideful in our fasting. There will be times that I break fast because we are entertaining folks, because someone offers a gift, or because I am becoming too prideful in my fasting. This isn’t a hard fast rule but the point is we have to keep in center focus the reason for fasting. Reuniting ourselves with Christ is the goal. How are we to rejoice with our brother/sister if we are constantly reminding him/her that we are fasting? Certainly we are not to be parading our fasting aloud for all to hear.
Humility is required of us even, and especially in our fasting. If our fasting is truly to reconnect with Christ then our actions will be for peace and for joy. Our faces will be washed and no one will know but our heavenly Father who rejoices with us as we forsake what we do not necessarily need but receive in return the freedom of God. As Saint Ignatius teaches, whenever we can be freer from our dependencies on pleasure or the love of things, the more open we are for love of others and love of God. I encourage you on this Journey and have been keeping you in prayer!
 2 Cor. 5:17
 Cf. Mt 4:1-11; Lk 4:1-13
 Cf. Isaiah 58:3-5
 Cf. Mt 9:15
 Cf. Mt 6:16
Husband & father of four, graduate from Quincy University and currently a grad student at Franciscan University. Director of Faith Formation & Youth Ministry for All Saints Parish since 2011.