Here is a quote from Frederica Mathewes (an Orthodox Christian) on fasting and transformation, during Lent or any other time:
"Everybody wants to be transformed, but nobody wants to change. If you
truly want to be transformed you have to admit that you need to change.
That’s called humility, recognizing that there is wisdom in the whole
body of Christ that’s greater than your own personal short stock of
wisdom. As we trust ourselves to these ancient traditions, as we join
our brothers and sisters in the faith going back 2000 years, we keep
the same fast with them, but we’re also going to share in the glory
Praying old prayers, somebody else’s prayers, has always been a humbling experience for me. I am submitting myself to someone else’s wisdom, to words that did not originate with me. I just trust the words that the Holy Spirit gave to another person, even if I don’t fully understand them yet.
I think I need to start thinking about fasting the same way (trusting the wisdom of the whole Body of Christ more than my own personal stock of wisdom), because it’s so easy for me to talk myself out of fasting. I love the idea of it, but it’s the practicing of it that trips me up. But if I can say "I don’t understand fully what this strange discipline is all about, but I am going to trust the wisdom of the whole Body of Christ, down through history, who have always practiced fasting…" then perhaps I’ll find the motivation to just keep participating in it, in order to find what they found.
RC of strangeculture says
That’s a great quote, and really a truly great thought…it’s true we want to be transformed, but change…humility…letting down our pride…whew! that type of application is counter-intuitive to the ways of the world.
Thanks for sharing this.
Ben, I find it more and more interesting as I look at what you are reading and compare it to my book shelf… so many of the same books and books on similar topics.
Kristine Colwill says
I have fasted off and on at different times for different reasons – with different results. Once to petition God on behalf of someone – my father – who went missing for a couple of days (long story). Right when he was found, I got to lead him to the Lord. It was so awesome. Other times I have done it just to try to hear God clearer, to remind me to stop and pray during the day. I think it is difficult, but can be powerful. The way to ruin it is to focus on the hunger pains all day, and not get anything out of it. It does make me feel like I am a part of a long line of poeple who have been doing this for so long, and it also helps me focus on God throughout a busy day.
I highly recommend it for anyone (with their doctor’s permission of course – I don’t know about doing it with certian medical issues)
Also, my grandparents used to fast all the time to petition God for someone. They used to tell me stories of people literally knocking on their door, not knowing why, but feeling like they should come over!
It’s such a mysterious, interesting thing to me. I don’t know if I’ll ever fully understand it – the when and why – but I’ll keep trying to anyway.