This year St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday in Lent, and many bishops have granted a dispensation from the Lenten obligation to abstain from meat that day. However, most bishops have also encouraged the faithful to take on a different fast and/or perform additional acts of charity.
So what do you do when a fast day is also a feast day? A good option is to fast from a vice and feast on a virtue. Recently on Heart to Heart with Mother Miriam, Mother discussed the importance of fasting from things other than food. She said:
“It’s good to include food in the fast, because we need to be masters over our passions and bodily appetites. But don’t stop at food.
We’re going through Lent because our Lord Jesus Christ has given us the unspeakable privilege of walking with Him, walking with Him in His journey to save us. … He invites us to share those 40 days with us. Why? Because when we love somebody we want to be with them. We want to console their heart in their suffering.
And so we go through these 40 days of fasting to be with our Lord, to cleanse from sin, and selfishness, and self-love, and all our disordered attachments. We fast from all of that, not just food, in order that we might truly be risen to new life come Easter morning. It’s such a terrific thing.”
Below Mother shares three fasting disciplines that you can add to your Lenten fast, and what you can feast on in celebration of St. Patrick!
Fast From Judging Others
Jesus says we need to judge actions, because we need to call a sin a sin. But we can’t judge hearts. We can’t judge motives. We cannot do that.
Feast On Christ Dwelling In Others
Personally, if I feasted on seeing Christ dwelling in every soul, I wouldn’t judge them. I couldn’t judge them. How could I judge Christ in them? I could not. I judge them when I dismiss Christ, when I think they should be in a different spot, when I blame them for being where they are, or for not living up to what I think they should. But if I see Christ in them, I don’t judge.
Fast From Emphasizing Differences
I want to tell you, this is also a hard one for me. I’m fine with differences of color, race, philosophy, thought, education, knowledge, skill, every culture … no problem. But differences in faith? That’s not easy! … You can’t fast from what is right. If someone believes in abortion they’re wrong, and those are differences that have to be clarified according to the Church’s moral teaching. But the emphasis on differences should be dismissed.
Feast On The Unity Of All Life
God made us as one, and He made us to be one. And He prayed that we would be one as He and the Father are one.
Fast From Apparent Darkness
I remember before I was even a Christian, let alone a Catholic Christian, that I did things that my conscience gave me a hard time about. I didn’t define sin, I wasn’t a Christian, I knew things were wrong and right but I didn’t really talk about sin in that way. So I did things because people would say, ‘Rosalind, come on. Get with it. Everybody’s doing it. It’s OK.’ And I remember when I became a Christian and I thought back to those things and I thought, ‘What do you know! I was right. Those things were wrong.’ I was so happy that I felt guilty! Whether you’re a Christian or not, God has given you a conscience. If you think it’s wrong, if you shy away from it – don’t do it. Respect yourself. Trust your conscience. And if you’re not sure whether or not it’s good, the answer is: When in doubt, don’t. And you’ll always be free.
Feast On The Reality Of All Light
If you’re not lured into the darkness, no matter what, then you will be in the light. And you will feast on the reality of light.
Listen to more from Mother Miriam below:
Heart to Heart with Mother Miriam airs weekdays from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. Pacific on Immaculate Heart Radio.