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  • Writer's pictureSaint John's in Passaic

Wanna Try a Lenten Fast? Here You Go.

Here are some resources you might find useful on fasting and abstinence, which are the traditional Christian devotional practices in Lent. Of course, you don’t have to fast from food – you can fast from anything. Perhaps a social media fast of some sort might be beneficial to you? Remember that the point – one of them, anyway – of fasting is to make room for God in our bodies, so that when we notice the lack of what we’re fasting from, we recall God instead.

In the Western Christian tradition, we distinguish between fasting and abstinence. Fasting refers primarily to the quantity of food, that is, when we eat and how often. Abstinence refers to what we eat or don’t eat. The Book of Common Prayer (see page 17) lists only two fast days: Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. On these days we are encouraged to eat only one full meal and two smaller meals, called collations, which together make up no more than one full meal.

Abstinence is called for on all the weekdays of Lent, except on the Feast of the Annunciation (March 25) and all Sundays. In fact, all fasts are formally relaxed on Sundays, because every Sunday, even in Lent, is a Feast of the Lord.

Abstinence might refer to not eating land-based meat, or perhaps sweets, or alcohol, or even something like social media, TV, etc. It isn’t a fast, as quantity isn’t limited, but one may of course observe both fasting and abstinence during all of Lent.

Here are a few resources that you might find useful. May your 40 Days be holy and blessed!

- Fr. Bob

Spiritual Fasting for Beginners

Some benefits of spiritual fasting

Different kinds of spiritual fasting

5 Tips for Fasting in a Healthy Way

Fitness 101: The Absolute Beginners Guide (if perhaps you want to take something on in a physical way)

5 Reasons To Try a Social Media Fast

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