Over the last 20 years of his life, Brother Klaus about whom we wrote last week didn’t eat anything. Holy communion sustained him until his last days. It’s possible. It’s possible contrary to what we learnt in the biology classes that a man cannot survive without nutrition for more than a few weeks. However, biology doesn’t take into account what secret wanders God can perform.
During the week we joined the fast evening group. Each member of this get-together abstained from something within this time. There were a few old ladies who just didn’t eat and fed just on water and tea. Surprisingly enough most of them didn’t complain about hunger attacks or hard struggles. But what really impressed me was one of the ladies who did not eat for seven days and nevertheless she cooked for her husband, so she had to “face” all the tantalizing cooking smells. That is love. Isn’t it?
Before our community time we spent some days in Taize and also discussed the idea of fasting. What are the reasons of fasting? Just the biological purification of the body. More healthy diet. Exercising our strong will. Pushing to our limits. Sacrificing your effort for somebody’s sake. By freeing yourself from some kind of food, some kind of food, some kind of online contents, from too much sleep, from destructive thoughts, from talking too much. from listening to little… We fast to live a simple live, for the same reason you get a bread roll and a piece of chocolate for breakfast in Taize. We fast to make more place for God in our house (soul) that is often cluttered with different kinds of rubbish.
Jan fasted from meat. Sebastian fasted from cream cheese – he likes it so much! I took only one day of fasting, just on water. Hunger woke me up and was a companion to me for most of they day. Though it was more difficult to pray, I work extremely efficiently and found myself much stronger in struggling with the temptations. It is just good to spent some time being hungry. Hungry for food or hungry for God. It is so rewarding to sometimes allow this hunger to be with you, and just automatically grasp a sandwich or a spiritual “happy-maker”.
When we take fasting seriously, we feel more joy when it comes to celebrating. St. Theresa of Avila summarized it accurately:
When I fast I fast. When I eat partridge, I eat partridge!