wandering in wonder

sharing, on a pilgrims journey

Lent Balance

Hi! back after a long absence when…you guessed it… I forgot my password!

anyway….I last wrote at the end of Advent, and now it’s Lent –  who better to turn to for some words about fasting and balance than Desert Mother, Amma Syncletica (okay, I admit, I had to read up on her for an essay!). Here goes…a bit from my essay with a quote from Laura Swan, who wrote ‘The Forgotten Desert Mothers’….

 “Although the desert way was of sparse meals and fasting from most foods, Amma Syncletica understood that more was involved. Fasting may take the form of giving up something other than food, such as excessive commitments, overachieving, unhealthy attitudes, and old resentments. The desert ascetics began by fasting from food, possessions and social relationships. They then progressed to fasting from interior attachments, such as anger, jealousy, envy, or possessiveness. The desert ascetics understood that fasting creates the space in our bodies, minds, and spirits for God to be within us and new things to grow.” (Swan, 2001, pp. 44-45)

Looked at in this manner, ascetic discipline can be seen as a psychosocial and physical discipline. It relates to moderated, balanced living, and relates again to the concepts around simplicity and detachment. This appears to make it more challenging to the present day. The continually booming weight-loss industry, and diagnoses of addiction to food, drugs, sex, or exercise in Western countries, are testimony to the fact that many of us do not live in moderation and need some way to discipline ourselves. “

Back to blog then… I found this really challenging – to look at how we balance our lives and look at what we need to ‘fast’ from. It becomes then not just about food, or giving up chocolate for Lent (for example…though that always seems just wrong to me!!), but about committing, or re-committing, ourselves, to lives in balance with our priorities right, and prepared to ‘leave out’ or moderate anything which gets our balanced moderated lives in a mess.

‘food’ for thought?!

February 18, 2008 Posted by | balance, Desert Mothers, Desert Wisdom, fasting, Lent | , , , , , | 2 Comments