Lenten rice

Today is the first day of Lent, and also a fasting day in the Catholic Church. I’ve decided to observe several fasting days over the Lenten period and I’m oddly looking forward to it.

Last year, you may recall, I opted to spend Lent eating simple foods and abstaining from alcohol. The idea was that it would help me to remember those who suffer from hunger around me. But I found that it was extremely difficult to do because I worried too much about getting enough calories every day. I also found that it was hard on other people because they felt they couldn’t eat something fantastic in front of me.

So to change things up a bit, this year I’ve decided to do a minimum of one fasting day per week (most likely Wednesdays) but I will aim for two or three days.

The Church describes fasting as having only one full meal to maintain one’s strength. Two smaller, meatless and penitential meals are permitted for those who need them, but they should not together equal the one full meal. Further, eating solid foods between meals is not permitted.

For my fasting days, I will aim to only eat one meal in the evening. That meal will be a simple bowl of rice or plain pasta and may also include “simple” fresh vegetables. If needed, I will allow myself a banana for breakfast and maybe some plain crackers or another piece of fruit at lunch. I will stick to water for my beverages.

The idea is, much like last year, to use my hunger as a reminder of the sacrifices my Saviour made for me. I hope that my sacrifice can help me to strengthen my relationship with my Lord and that it will make me a more humble being.

It’s a little vague to say “at least once a week” but I have to think about the health risks involved with not eating enough – especially when training for marathons. I also have to remember that I have two major medical conditions to think about. And, of course, I have to remember that the point of a Lenten sacrifice isn’t to make one’s life miserable, but rather to improve it through spirituality.

If you are participating in the Lenten season, I pray that you have all the strength and faith you need to see yourself through these wonderful days.

May the Lord’s blessings be with you all!

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