Fasting has often been associated with Lent.
It has been part of Christian and Jewish practice for thousands of years. It is also part of other religious traditions.
Fasting has also been proven, when practised right, to have health benefits. We evolved to feast and famine.
Uncontrolled eating has been proven to be unhealthy. There seems to be evidence that having periods of eating less gives the body a chance to recover and heal from certain health challenges.
Jesus spoke about fasting being beneficial spiritually.
“We do not live on bread alone”.
He spoke about combatting evil by prayer and fasting.
Uncontrolled gratification can seriously distract us from a healthy, spiritual life.
St. Paul speaks about some people making Gods of their stomachs.
Healthy self-discipline is helpful for developing a life based on virtue.
Healthy balanced fasting can certainly be helpful in the spiritual journey.
However, the scriptures also speak of other forms of fasting.
Helping the poor.
Looking after those in need.
Fasting from gossip.
Fasting from unhealthy sexual practices.
Visiting the lonely.
Looking after refugees.
Helping the ‘powerless’.
And so many other ways of going out of our comfort zone to help others.
Fasting without loving is not helpful. It is love that gives meaning to fasting.
Love is the most powerful way of practising self-discipline. It is called commitment.