Fasting has become fashionable.
While many religions promote fasting as a hard but necessary practice, fasting has never really taken off as an attractive and life-giving movement.
Until now maybe?
In recent years healthy psychology has managed to communicate the heart of what religion often fails to achieve. Fasting is a short-cut to abundant living.
Think of the websites, social-media posts and TV shows that are focussed on de-cluttering homes, lifestyles, minds and diaries. All of these movements aim at helping people to live in greater freedom by offering encouragement and assistance to let go, and not fill every longing and yearning with things and thoughts that never deliver what they promise.
Fasting does not require doing without what is essential but is rather a fine-tuning of our appetites, a honing of our senses,
The desire to fast reveals a mature awareness that many of us live lives of excess, every day saturating our senses with screens, media and music, words and noises, food and drink programmes and practices, all in an often subconscious and compulsive attempt to hide from our true selves.
When we take time to be still and silent, seeking Jesus, the first thing we might notices is that the clamour and clutter will flood our consciousness.
This moment will pass and the beautiful and complex truth about ourselves will emerge.
When faced with this truth, do not be afraid. Remain and relax some more. Breathe deeply.
In this place you will hear the still small voice of the divine.
As Pope Francis reflected last week:
“Fasting will be the spiritual training ground where we joyfully renounce the superfluous things that weigh us down, grow in interior freedom and return to the truth about ourselves”.