Why Do We Fast for Lent?

Amy D'Ambra

Posted on March 07 2021

What if Lent was not about what we gave up, but who we became?

What did you give up for Lent this year? I asked my dear friend this question as we were walking this morning, and she said she gave up eating nuts. Nuts — why would anyone give up eating something so healthy? Well, for my friend, nuts are her everyday go-to. She has a habit of reaching into a big jar of nuts on her kitchen counter and eating them in a hurry to quench her hunger. Giving this up has caused her to slow down, take time to recognize her hunger, and make a conscious decision to prepare a meal (rather than grabbing a handful of nuts). In her words, “I go to grab nuts all day long, and now, I have time to stop and reflect on God, and prepare when necessary.”

What if my prayer life got deeper throughout Lent?

What does fasting do for your soul? Sometimes it simply boils down to faith and obedience — doing something because God and or the Church asks us to, and having faith that the result of what we do in obedience will bring us supernatural grace. Throughout Lent we have an opportunity to put our faith to the test and say “YES" to being obedient to our faith. It is just for 40 days. However, it may change us for a lifetime, and it may offer graces that we do not even know we need yet.

What do you do when you just want to give up?

It is normal to struggle with our Lenten promise, and in those tough times, I lean on my favorite prayer: “Jesus, I trust in You… Jesus I trust in You.” Ask for Jesus to take the desire to break my fast away. 

What if you fail?

Welcome to being human, my friend. We all fail. In the words of my son, "It is not about how we fall; it is about how we get back up." Every day is a new day, and every moment is a new fresh start. God will meet you exactly where you are, and the sincere desire to commit to 40 days to get closer to Jesus is the most important Lenten promise. Your desire remains steadfast, even when your fast might fail. His love never fails, and sometimes, we can hear God rejoicing as we get back up and try again.

May you be empowered by Lent this season as you prepare your heart and soul for the NEW birth of JOY on Easter, and may you become the saint you are called to be!

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