25 February 2009

On Fasting (Part I): Follow the Community

As we begin this most sacred season of Lent, we share two thoughts on the topic of fasting. Today we share some advice from our Holy Father, St. Francis de Sales and on Sunday we will share an insight from our current Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. Both sentiments point toward the same end of fasting with the proper spiritual disposition.

St. Francis de Sales cautions us to "follow the community" in all things. This is not to say that everyone in one community, family, house, etc., has to observe Lent in the same way but that we strive to be faithful to a practice which is both suitable and appropriate. Sometimes we can feel discouraged about our own Lenten practices when we hear about the "heroic" feats that others have set out to accomplish. At other times, we may feel pleased with our own spiritual undertakings when we compare ourselves to a colleague or friend. St. Francis de Sales rescues us from this most human of temptations:

"Let the strong and robust eat what is given then, keeping the fast and austerities which are marked, and let them be content with that. Let the week and infirm receive what is offered them for their infirmity, without wishing to do what the robust do. Let neither group amuse themselves looking to see what this one eats and what that one does not eat."

No comments: