Email from Cana 90 – Day 3
Discerning Your Commitments of Fasting
“Through fasting and praying, we allow Him to come and satisfy the deepest hunger that we experience in the depths of our being: the hunger and thirst for God.” –Pope Benedict, Lenten message, 2009
The goal of fasting from anything–whether it is food or other pleasures, is to subordinate our flesh to our will. Basically, we need to make ourselves do things we do not want to do! The more we do this, the less selfish and self-centered we will become. It is a muscle that we all need to continually work to develop its strength. Nothing so naturally helps develop this muscle like children! They are cute, endearing, compelling little crosses made especially for you. Sometimes it’s easier to handle a cross that we choose ourselves, like “I will get up at 4:30 every morning.” It’s harder to handle crosses that we don’t choose, like “My two year old randomly wakes me up at 4:30!” So as you choose your commitments of fasting, it is important to keep in mind that some “subordination of the will” is naturally baked into family life. Embrace those moments and do not underestimate them as opportunities for fasting put right in front of you.
So, if you have many small children at home, we would advise that you are very discerning in this area because your will is already being trained in many ways by them. You don’t want to get discouraged or overwhelm yourself by overdoing your self-denial. That being said, it is important that we create a space in our hearts for God that used to be filled by pleasure. Create a hunger in your life for God by removing those things of vanity that distract us. (see Ecclesiastes 2:1-11) To what material things are we too attached? What habits do I have that are destructive to my spiritual health?
Sometimes God is calling us to remove a bad habit we have in Lent. Take that thing out and offer it as a sacrifice to God. Other times He asks us to give up something that is not necessarily “bad” but to simply sacrifice for love of Him. Like we said on the podcast, we can offer reparation to the Heart of Jesus by giving up things that are good to show Him how much we love him and to console His heart that is so wounded by all those who do not love Him. And as we learned on Day 1, never forget the relationship between fasting and prayer.
Today do these 3 things:
- Read over the options for Fasting Commitments listed below. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to pick 5 things that you feel called to do.
- Set aside a time today to discuss these with your spouse. Maybe you can text them right now your 5 options so they can think about them during the day and then decide tonight which 2 or 3 that you will choose to commit to. Get ready to start these commitments tomorrow, though we won’t be keeping track of Victory Points until Monday.
- Continue your Prayer Commitments made yesterday. Pray for the couples around the world who are also doing this Cana90 Lenten Journey. Over 750 have joined Cana 90. Let’s support each other as Catholic families walking this road to heaven together!
Fasting Commitment Options: Choose 5 and then discuss with your spouse and commit to 2 or 3 (all of these can be done as an individual, as a couple, or as a family)
- Avoid use of the internet without a clear purpose
- Eliminate or limit social media (connect with friends or talk with your spouse instead)
- Eliminate or limit video games of all kinds (play board games with your children or spouse)
- Eliminate or limit shows (log out of Netflix and read or listen to audiobooks)
- Close down all screens at a certain time (spend time with family)
- Do not engage with your work (emails, phone calls, texts) while at home
- Listen to less music (sing more)
- Listen to only Christian music or only classical music
- When you are alone, have only quiet in the car
- Take a daily walk
- Give up using foul language
- Go to bed on time or at the same time as your spouse
- Wake up earlier
- Take a cold shower
- Take a shorter shower
- Eat more of what you don’t like, eat less of what you like
- Skip condiments
- Eliminate or limit alcohol
- Eliminate or limit smoking
- Follow a diet plan
- Drink only water
- Eliminate sugar
- Go vegetarian or even vegan
- Other: ______________________