This is the first Lent that I’ve been of age to fast. In case you’re unfamiliar with Catholic teaching, all people 18 to 60 (I THINK the upper end is 60. I’m not sure because I’m nowhere near that age, so it’s not really on my radar. So don’t quote me.) are obligated to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Fasting is defined as eating one regular meal and two small meals that don’t exceed one meal when combined. You are allowed to drink all day. Oh, and one more twist…Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are also days of abstinence, which means you can’t eat meat. (All Fridays during Lent are also days of abstinence.)
To be honest, I was a little afraid about fasting on Ash Wednesday. My parents don’t follow most Catholic stuff, so I’d never seen anyone fast before. I had no idea what to expect. Plus, I eat a ton of food regularly. I’m thin, so I must have a high metabolism or something. So I didn’t sleep much on Ash Wednesday eve because I was nervous.
I was actually pleasantly surprised on Ash Wednesday! Catholic fasting isn’t really that hard! I had my first snack around 12:30. I had my meal around 5:30. Then I had my last snack around 10 PM, and then I went to bed and was pretty happy about breakfast in the morning.
My stomach growled a little in the beginning. But, believe it or not, that wasn’t the real problem. I got used to it after a while. The real problem was that I missed tasting yummy things. What a gift God has given us with taste! It didn’t seem in the spirit of Lent to have sweets on that day, so I didn’t. Why would I waste precious calories on cookies? I learned that I like eating not for the way it makes my stomach stop growling, but for the way food tastes.
I also learned that I could go with a lot less food than what I actually consume. It makes me feel bad for starving people in other parts of the world. If only I could have given to them what I didn’t eat!
You know, I don’t think I ever really understood Lent before I fasted. It really gets you in a disciplined mindset for the Lenten season. If Jesus could die on the cross for us, why can’t we just eat less for a day? It’s the least we could do.
It’s not like I’m like, “Yesssssssssssssss! Come on Good Friday! I want to fast again!” But I’m not dreading it either. I’m really somewhat indifferent. I know it will be a good thing though.
Happy Lent everyone!