Thursday, February 2, 2012

My Lenten ambition, courtesy of Islam

I think for years, I've held a strong admiration for our Muslim brothers and sisters. Whether it was the strong dedication to religious traditions, the architecture, or the names, I've always found something peaceful about their religion.

One thing I really admire is the fasting they do for religious holidays. For instance, during Ramadan they fast during daylight hours for an entire month, refraining from food, drink, cigarettes and sex. As for us Catholics, the only day we're encouraged to Fast is on Fridays, and that fast pales in comparison: One meal, and two small meals that don't equal a full meal.

Comparatively speaking, we're a bunch of wimps.

It's a fast that I was actually able to pull off last Good Friday, and it felt so rewarding. On a day where Christ suffered on the cross, it just felt wrong to drink a Pepsi. But I'd like to take this fast a little further. If our Islamic brothers and sisters can fast like that for a whole month, why can't I do the same fast during Lent?

So here is what I'm proposing for Lent: No food or water during daylight hours, except for the water used to brush my teeth and bathe. I don't drink or smoke cigarettes, so giving those up won't be an obstacle. And as far as sex is concerned, well, I personally think that's better during the nighttime hours anyways.

I know this is going to be difficult. So I did some research on how to get ready for a fast like this. A web site I found that helps get Muslims ready for Ramadan reminded me that fasting isn't just a competition to see if I could pull it off: It's about rededicating yourself to God and to your faith. The one thing that I need to remind myself of is that if I'm not prepared spiritually when Lent gets here, my Lenten promise will be a failure.

That prayer time that I put off? That needs to be fixed. That Bible I don't read enough? That needs to get picked up. That trust in God that I often lack? Without that trust, no amount of fasting will bring me any closer to God.

It is my hope and prayer that I can get my heart ready for the Lenten season. I believe if I can get that ready, then this will might end up being one of the most fulfilling things I'll ever do in my life.

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