Lent’s Perennial List, Fasting From

Every Lent (usually before Ash Wednesday!) I am asked to post the perennial “Fasting From” list.

This began as a series of weekly columns on this blog about fasting from certain attitudes and striving to become more virtuous. Several of those columns made their way into my book Cultivating God’s Garden through Lent .

The list of those fourteen “Fasting From” reflections became popular, and many friends said they had printed them out and hung them in work spaces.

So, here again is the excerpt from my book:

One year during a late winter retreat a small handout was distributed and the idea of “giving up,” or fasting, took on a whole new purpose. Here is what it said:

Fast from bitterness; turn to forgiveness

Fast from hatred; return good for evil

Fast from negativism; be positive

Fast from complaining; be grateful

Fast from pessimism; be an optimist

Fast from harsh judgments; think kindly thoughts

Fast from worry; trust in Divine Providence

Fast from discouragement; be full of hope

Fast from anger; be more patient

Fast from pettiness; be more mature

Fast from gloom; enjoy the beauty around you

Fast from jealousy; pray for trust

Fast from gossiping; control your thoughts

Fast from sin; turn to virtue

Maybe we should consider hanging this list on the fridge for more than the forty days of Lent.

We are taught to be charitable in how we respond towards others. We also need to be charitable with ourselves as we become a more virtuous person.  Let us begin our journey this Lent with our hearts open, accepting the challenges to become who we are truly called to be as Christians. A virtuous life isn’t for the faint of heart.

May God always be praised!