It’s not about fish.
From today’s Scripture: “This is the fasting that I wish: …Sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; Clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own.” (Isaiah 58: 6-7)
Friday abstinence is not about not eating meat. The denial is about opening our hearts to others who are denied justice and mercy. Our fasting is to empty out our self-centeredness and fill up with generosity. It is to expand our hunger to help our neighbor.
A common advice for marriage preparation is, if you think of what your future spouse needs first and your future spouse is thinking of your needs, both of your needs will be met. It is true in other ways, as well. When we care for the needs of others, especially those most in need of love, hope and mercy, God will reward us with our needs being met, too. Maybe not in the way we expect, but in surprising and more joyful ways. Think other, not self and discover the Other in yourself.
Let us pray: “May this Friday fast open my eyes to see the oppressed, hungry and suffering. O Lord, may this denial help me appreciate those denied some much every day.”
Today’s author, Glenmary Father Steve Pawelk, is codirector of Glenmary’s novitiate program.
Photo courtesy of Martin Jernberg