In all of what Our Lady requests of us, we should remember that she does not expect a complete response to everything overnight. Conversion is a lifelong process.
Sometimes, when people return from Medjugorje, usually on a ‘high’, they try to go straight in on the so-called ‘five stones’. Great for a few weeks, then slowly the five become four, the four become three and so on. Because it is all too much to take on all at once.
Our Lady never asked the visionaries to attempt all of this from day one. She is still guiding and encouraging them 28 years later. So that says much. Although we are all in the School of Love, no-one ever graduates, at least not this side of death.
Fasting is probably the most difficult undertaking of all that Our Lady asks of us. It’s the age old battle of the spirit versus the flesh, and as St Pio once said, this battle is never over until the blood stops coursing through our veins.
Personally I think it is far more difficult to fast for one day than, say three days, or even for a nine-day novena. I know someone who used to do 40-day fasts. Not anymore. It damaged his health.
Marija the visionary used to fast more days than Our Lady asked her to. That was until Our Lady told her that she did not want this.
My advice. Don’t go hungry when fasting on bread and water. Eat as much bread to satisfy your hunger. And by drinking plenty of water you will find that your intake of bread will lessen.
Which Mother wants her children to go hungry?
The difficulty for many people attempting to fast on bread and water is identifying just what the body is telling them. ‘Feeling’ hungry is not necessarily the body needing food. An intake of water will often satisfy this ‘feeling’.
And someone who is very active during the day will also require extra intake than someone sitting in a chair for most of the time.
Watch for the highs when a fast day is completed. Next day is congrats day and that can mean succumbing to extra portions to make up for the “gap”. This is similar to a cigarette smoke who stops for a day. Doing so brings about a drop in the level of nicotine in the body. Next day they smoke twice as many cigarettes to top up the nicotine level again.
And watch for the “feasting” on Thursdays thinking this will help stop the hunger pangs on Friday. It’s kidology. Mind games. In reality it only increases the “hunger” because the stomach is conditioned to receiving its daily level. It’s like pigging out on pancakes on Shrove Tuesday because Lent starts the next day.
Finally, stay out of the kitchen on fast days. Don’t put yourself in the danger zone. This is a bit like Sansom flirting with Delilah. I’m not sure if he really felt he was strong enough to resist her advances of if, deep down, he was looking to be seduced. The same can happen with fasting. Question why you have a need to be in the kitchen on fast days? I liken this to the alcoholic torturing himself by going to bars and drinking Cola. It’s stupid and we know what the eventual outcome will be.
With fasting, you begin to discover what honesty is about. Honesty with oneself. We can have a book of excuses and good reasons why we don’t fast or why we cave in.
I can eat for all sorts of reasons. I eat when I’m sad. I eat when I’m happy. I can always find a reason for eating. Getting honest with myself and accepting the good reasons why I should fast isn’t so easy.
Well, that’s my twopennyworth. Is it Friday already?!