Christians who have done any study of the letters of the Apostle Paul know that “flesh” for Paul is not the same as “body.” “Flesh” is not our physicality, but an attitude, what keeps us centered upon ourselves and living out of touch with our call to be sons and daughters of God. When we are caught in old habits of self‑centeredness we often know how helpless we are, how dead to the Spirit moving within us. Especially when such self‑centeredness becomes or even borders on addiction we feel trapped, imprisoned, entombed. In that state of need we cry out for someone to set us free.
We are past the halfway mark of that time of year when we declare in each Sunday’s rite of scrutiny that God has given us one another as the Spirit‑empowered instruments of liberation for one another. No one does this work of freedom alone. Fasting is a privileged kind of communion. It is a sharing of need, a celebration of absence. This aspect of Catholic spirituality is as necessary to our common life of faith as rests are in music, as voids in sculpture, as silence in prayer.
Prayer is always joined to fasting. Fasting triggers in this season a remembrance to pray for those being brought to the font, to full communion or to reconcil‑iation. Only after we have shared the absence can we come with full hearts to the paschal banquet.
What can I do to fast in communion with others?
Copyright © 2001 Archdiocese of Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, 1800 North Hermitage Avenue, Chicago IL 60622‑1101; 1‑800‑933‑1800; www.ltp.org. Text by Andrew Ciferni, opraem. Art by Susie Novak. All rights reserved. Used with permission.