Let’s Fast and Feast for Lent

by Melannie Svoboda SND on February 8, 2016

When we think of Lent, we probably think of fasting—especially fasting from food. But recently I saw a little prayer that encouraged us to both fast and feast for Lent. With that thought in mind, here are a few things we might want to fast from and some things we might want to feast on for Lent.

Let us fast from words that belittle, tear down, pollute: “You’re stupid!…That’s a dumb idea!…Can’t you do anything right?” And let’s feast on words that respect, praise, encourage: “You’re great!…That’s a good idea…I really appreciate your talents.”

Let us fast from complaining: “Darn it!…People are so greedy…This world is a terrible place.” And let us feast on appreciation: “How nice! Thank you!…People can be incredibly generous…This world is a fascinating place!”

Let us fast from concern only for ourselves: “Me first!…I don’t care about anybody else…What’s in itLent crosschurch-304637__180 for me?” And let us feast on compassion: “How can I help you?…We are all one human family and earth family …What’s in it for us?”

Let us fast from lethargy: “I’m too tired to do anything… I’m only one person… Let someone else do it.” And let us feast on enthusiasm: “I can and will do something about that… One person can make a difference… I will ask the Holy Spirit to enliven me with grace.”

Let us fast from fear: “You can’t trust anybody… I’m powerless… The future is terrifying.” And let us feast on trust in God: “Most people are basically trustworthy… I can do good because God strengthens me… The future is exciting because God is already there.”

Let us fast from impatience: “This computer (microwave, tea kettle, check-out line) is so slow!… That stupid driver just cut me off!… Why isn’t God doing something about this problem?” And let us feast on patience: “This is a minor inconvenience… I’ll let that other driver go ahead of me… I know God’s time-table is not always my time-table.”

Let us fast from hostility: “I hate those people… An eye for an eye… I’ll get even. Wait and see.” And let us feast on forgiveness: “There is no those people. We are all us... Love your enemies… Forgiveness is the greatest form of love.”

Let us fast from cynicism: “This world will never get better… Give up already… What’s the use?” And let us feast on hope: “We can all help to make this world a better place… Let’s work together!… God is with us!”

Lent is all about returning home to God—whether we have wandered many miles from God or only a few yards. This song, “Come Back to Me,” is based on the words of the prophet Hosea. It was written by Gregory Norbert and is sung here by John Michael Talbot. May we hear our loving God saying these beautiful words to us throughout our Lenten journey. I wish you all a rich and beautiful Lent!

 

What are you going to fast from this Lent? What are you going to feast on?

Is there anything you would add to the list of things to fast from and feast on?

If there is anything you would like to share with us, we’d enjoy hearing from you! 

 

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathleen February 8, 2016 at 4:13 am

What a great Lenten reflection Sr. Melannie! I am going to fast from multi-tasking when eating breakfast and feast on the silence.

Kathleen

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Doris February 8, 2016 at 9:03 am

One of my favorite Scripture passages and hymns. Seeing the lyrics, as well as listening to them, gave me a new insight into familiar words. I was especially inspired today with “living deeply our new life” — not your or my, but OUR new life. Awesome, indeed. Thank you for reminding us to get ready for Lent.

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Rita February 8, 2016 at 9:27 am

Thank you for this helpful Lenten reminder to concrete actions of mercy. So much more important than “ideas” as Pope Francis has taught us.
Peace to you.

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Tina February 8, 2016 at 9:39 am

What a wonderful way to look at Lent. Thanks so much. I look forward to your thoughts each week!

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Mary Schneider February 8, 2016 at 10:26 am

Sr Melannie:

This morning at Mass, Fr. Joe told us how we are all “getters”, wanting to get something from Jesus such as return to good health, etc. He urged us to be “givers” this Lent. Finally I have heard with my ears what was in my heart but never expressed. This will be my best Lenten season ever! Your post today is a perfect example of giving of ones self.

Mary

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Barbara February 8, 2016 at 11:01 am

I’m going to fast from complaining about the (often small) things that go wrong and truly feast on the blessings (great and small) that are integral elements of every single day. Thank you, Sister Melannie, for a beautiful reflection on how attitude can make a difference … and how we can easily strive to make this the’ best Lent every.’ Lent isn’t, after all, ‘about giving up chocolate.’
Blessings!

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Diane February 8, 2016 at 11:43 am

Let us fast from trying to be all “grown up” and independent, making our own way; and let us feast on the sacred peace of being our Father’s little child, dependent and vulnerable and cherished.

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Marilyn T. Sabatino, S.N.D. February 8, 2016 at 12:00 pm

thanks Mel …graet reflection…shallfast from hurridness and live a more contemplative way..in the moment …where ever…. work, prayer or play

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Marilyn T. Sabatino, S.N.D. February 8, 2016 at 12:01 pm

aah better start right away…with my typing

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Kathy OFS February 8, 2016 at 12:02 pm

My choice is old school fast from meat on Friday to fish. Feast on reading living faith Lent booklet and a year of Mercy with Pope Francis. Give too those in need.

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Rachael February 8, 2016 at 12:02 pm

Thanks Sr. Melanie. It was so good this morning to read your fast and feast list. I will work on this type of lists. Loved hearing and seeing the words with the song . Look forward to reading your weekly thoughts.

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Annie February 8, 2016 at 1:24 pm

I like the comment about feasting; your examples provide the understanding of that as a different kind of almsgiving!

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Patty February 8, 2016 at 2:47 pm

Thank you, Sister. I will fast from being annoyed with small set-backs and feast more on prayer and graced-filled reading.

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JoAnn Welch February 8, 2016 at 3:26 pm

It sounds as if we need to live positively in what could be taken as a negative world. My tongue is probably my worst enemy…I need to think are my words…kind, true, necessary…before I speak. And when I speak be positive. Thanks, Sr. Melanie and may your Lent be fruitful for you!!

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Jean Canatsey February 8, 2016 at 4:20 pm

What a great examination of conscience before Lent! I asked myself what I needed to Fast from and Feast on while journaling today and decided that Words and Impatience are the primary things I need to zero in on. I especially need to stop criticizing my adult daughter who lives with us. Instead of saying, “Why did you do that?”, I need to compliment her for her efforts and abilities. I need to work on Impatience: with my computer (which often is an occasion of sin!) and red lights when I am in a hurry. I recently broke my foot. Since I am usually the “go to” person, I need to work on having the patience and humility to wait for my husband to help me and to not criticize him for the way he helps . (Those words again!) I need to focus on leaving early enough that I don’t have to worry about red lights!
Feasting: I need to spend more time in SILENCE with our Lord – perhaps by going to Adoration at San Pedro Retreat Center on the Fridays of Lent.
I need to Feast on the positive things about our government-both Church and State.
Thank you, Sister Melannie, for reminding me.

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Diane February 9, 2016 at 11:54 am

Jean,
I can so relate to you! My tongue (and being judgemental) has caused me many problems too. I recently took 3 weeks of recuperation from a surgery for silence, prayer, and renewal…and what a help the Holy Spirit has given me (my attitude, and tongue)! I look forward to Lent and to a rediscovery of many things. Have you read “Rediscovering Catolicism” and/or “Rediscovering Jesus”? Very powerful.
Diane

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Gus February 8, 2016 at 4:31 pm

Sister, I enjoy your thoughts about Lent and this approach. I was taught for 12 years by the Sisters of Saint Joseph and they always suggested we “do something” for lent instead of “fasting or giving up” something. Your suggestions fit right in with our way of approaching Lent and making this season more meaningful. Grazie!

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Joan February 8, 2016 at 6:09 pm

Sister Melanie,
As always your meditation had given me much to think about. I do hope to be more focused on helping others during Lent, and less on myself.
Wishes that your Lenten journey will be a beautiful one.

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Sister Miriam February 8, 2016 at 7:02 pm

Excellent Sister! Thank you for looking at Lent in a different light………..a light I think we all need; I know I do

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Cathy Baier February 8, 2016 at 9:00 pm

This lent I am reading two books: Mercy in the City by Kerry Weber is about practicing the corporal works of mercy within the context of our busy lives and The Mindful Woman by Sue Patton Thoele about mindfulness. So I am focusing on mercy and mindfulness. I want to fast from putting negative talk out into the world.
thanks for this thought-provoking message!

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Claudette February 9, 2016 at 7:47 am

One of the things I will try to ‘practise’ this Lent is the Sufi ‘Three Gates’ with my speech. “Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind? I remind myself that it takes three weeks to build a habit. May this season make this so for me.

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Linda February 10, 2016 at 5:56 am

Thank you! Your words always strike a chord within me. I will fast from fear of the future and feast on the joy of now.

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Carl February 10, 2016 at 8:06 pm

What a positive way to view fasting during Lent. Your suggestions focus on what we can do for others rather than thinking about our own hunger. I passed your message on to the 10 or so members of our weekly small faith discussion group, and am getting very favorable comments on it.

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Ceil February 11, 2016 at 2:10 pm

Hi Sr.! Nice to meet you today! I have a friend who was a sister of Notre Dame, but I think there are many different communities? I’ll have to ask her if she knows you!

Feasting in Lent sounds almost sacrilegious doesn’t it? But if I fast from something, it does open up a new place in me to rejoice in the renewed presence of the Lord. That’s my goal this Lent. To be aware in the moment. I really stink at that. Still do. But I’m willing to work on it 🙂
Blessings,
Ceil

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Melannie Svoboda SND February 12, 2016 at 1:50 pm

Dear Readers, Once again I want to thank all of you who responded to this Lenten reflection. I appreciate your humility, your honesty, your good ideas. Thank you too for suggesting books that you have found nourishing. Gratefully, Sr. Melannie

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Diane Butler February 13, 2016 at 5:46 pm

I plan to continue reading Jesus Calling that I was given by my daughter at Christmas. I also hope to finish Pope Francis encyclical on the Gospel of Joy. Our small community has Lenten lunches with neighboring Protestant denominations. I am excited for these, they are on Wednesdays starting next week thru Holy Week. Wednesday is my day off. This is our first year in this wonderful small town we have chosen to retire in.

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Beverly Palumbo, RSM February 19, 2016 at 7:52 am

Thank you…God bless you….and thanks also for the cards and poem…re: 3,333 blog reader….

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