Richard Rohr’s Reflection on Fasting

I liked what Richard said about the three ways of “de-centralizing  the self” and also the focus on inner patterns which detract us from our centering process. I will be following his weekly Lenten guide here.

Fasting, along with prayer and almsgiving, are the three spiritual disciplines that are taught in all of the monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  Jesus himself repeats these in the Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew 6:1-18.  They are three ways of "de-centralizing the self":  Prayer de-centralizes my mind, almsgiving de-centralizes my heart, and fasting de-centralizes my body.  (Almost enneagramatic!)

Fasting seems to be the one discipline that has been most neglected as a strong tradition in Christianity, whereas Moslems would still practice it quite seriously during all of Ramadan, and Jews on special high holy days.  For us, it is largely forgotten before Eucharist, in Lent, and even on the two "required" days of Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.  Maybe that is partly because we trivialized it in terms of "giving up" candy or dessert during Lent.  The negative "giving up" notion lost any positive meaning-like seeking God or solidarity with others.

What we hope to do this Lent is to try to work together in a more positive form of fasting.  Each week of Lent, we will consciously try to let go of INNER PATTERNS that keep us in our wrong head, our small heart, and outside of our bodies.  The notion is not "sacrifice" as if this, of itself, somehow pleases God, but rather consciously letting go of ATTITUDES and BEHAVIORS that are in the way, that keep me from loving God, loving one another, and loving my own dignity.  We invite you to join us on this journey.

~Richard Rohr, ofm

About Sivin Kit

man of one wife, father of four kids
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One Response to Richard Rohr’s Reflection on Fasting

  1. Sivin, I like your post. In my Christian tradition, lent just was not something we ‘celebrated’. So it is still fairly new to me. However I am currently learning and studying on this tradition as well as other traditions I am somewhat unfamiliar with (via a worship course with Dan Wilt and with Robert Webber & James F Wright resources). I also find that fasting seems to be ‘lost in translation’ in this generation. I know I certainly have not excelled in fasting privately. I certainly wish I was challenged more or guided in this area.

    I like how your post describes it at ‘de-centralizing the self’. That is so true, if we do it. So I am left challenged, yet encouraged by your post. It is less about giving something up, and more about seeking God and standing in solidarity with others.


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