Food plays an increasingly romantic part in our culture. Turn on the TV any night of the week and their are a myriad of shows about all of the delectable food spots and how you too can cook like a professional chef. If you don't watch TV, open Instagram. How many people in your feed today took a picture of their food?
Honestly, I don't understand these pictures. Did you order the food to look at it or eat it? Maybe it looks good but smells like an old shoe. Please stop posting these pictures.
Food, like everything in our lives, can quickly morph from a simple necessity to an obsession. It can become an idol. Not only that, we can, in all of our good intentions, think a Spring Break diet is the same thing as fasting or abstaining for Lent. I once heard a woman admit to giving up cookies for Lent because Spring Break was the week after Easter.
Lent is not a time for losing weight nor is Lent a time for giving up bread to start that healthier lifestyle. Fasting is a spiritual practice that helps us reorient our lives around the one thing that matters: Jesus Christ.
Fasting should not make us mad at the world, our friends, our waist line. Fasting, when done well, leads us to a deeper reliance on God. We take on a temporary suffering to remind us of what Christ did for us and how this inconvenience can help transform our hearts and lives.
As we enter the final few weeks of Lent, it is also important to remember how the practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are not simply Lenten practices. They help us bear spiritual fruit throughout our lives.
For example, a priest told me the story of an older woman in his first parish. This woman loved to bake and absolutely adored chocolate. She, however, only ate chocolate on Easter Sunday. When asked about this, the woman told him, "Father, Easter is the most important day of the year. If I had chocolate every other day, it wouldn't be special on Easter. Having my favorite thing on my favorite day is made all the more special because I don't enjoy the rest of the year."
Fasting, simple self-denial prepares us for the glories of Easter and the glories of heaven to come.
Fr. Patrick is a Dominican priest and the Campus Minister.