US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Day 9: Kathleen O. Chesto

This Lent, for at least one day, try fasting from “fast-ing,” the rushing that drains so much more than it accomplishes.

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Kathleen O. Chesto: Fasting from fast-ing
A story is told of a safari in the Serengeti. A researcher was rushing to the mating grounds of the African elephant. He had started late and pushed his porters relentlessly to arrive by mating season. On the fourth day, the porters sat down and refused to move. The translator explained they would go no farther until they had given their spirits time to catch up with them.

We live in a world where “fast” has a whole different meaning from its Lenten definition. We are a nation in a hurry. We drive 5 miles over the speed limit no matter what the speed limit is. Our rushing has created a whole new disease. Last year alone, road rage claimed over 1,500 victims.

This Lent, for at least one day, try fasting from “fast-ing,” the rushing that drains so much more than it accomplishes. Try driving the speed limit and using the extra minutes on the drive to work to get in touch with God. Instead of beeping the horn, say a prayer for the people who cut you off on the road. Instead of getting annoyed with the slow cashier and changing lines, try greeting that person with a gentle smile. Fast from fast food. Eat a good meal with family or friends, and take time to enjoy each taste and each person. You won’t lose weight, but your burdens may feel lighter. You might even find your spirit will catch up with you!

Reflection questions

1. Are you ever guilty of impatience when life doesn’t go fast enough for you?

2. Think of one way you can slow down, whether it’s driving the speed limit, taking the time to eat a family meal, or making time for yourself to pray every day. Over the next week, see if you can integrate this into your daily routine. How does it make you feel? Do you feel closer to God or the people around you?

Chesto is author of Know Me, Hold Me, Sing to Me: What My Grandchild Taught Me about God (Sorin Books).