On this Holy Thursday, I continue my journey through Scott Hahn’s book, Lenten Reflections from A Father Who Keeps His Promises.
I’ve been hearing about the distinction between “true hunger” and “false” or “toxic hunger.” Dr. Oz describes how sensations differ: you don’t feel “true hunger” in your stomach, for example. The NIH website describes one study related to “true hunger” and says:
True hunger protects lean body mass, but does not fuel fat deposition. It exists to protect lean body mass from utilization as an energy source.
True hunger, then, ensures that we eat what we need and when we need it. On the other hand, the study explains that “People overeat because their hunger directs them to consume more calories than they require.”
This Lent I fasted. But I also feasted.
I fasted from snacks between meals, but also from unnecessary internet and video binges.
I feasted on prayer—focusing on the Rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, the Stations of the Cross. I feasted on His Word, with readings and reflections from Scripture guided by Scott Hahn’s book.
Really, fast and feast went hand-in-hand. My fasting—denying myself the “empty calories” of wasted time—freed me to feast on activities that strengthen my faith and draw me closer to God.
By fasting, I am allowing myself to focus on those clues that reveal that which I truly hunger for. When I am not fasting, I have a tendency to gorge myself with superficial, saccharine-sweet, fatty things that may temporarily satisfy me but really do nothing for my true hunger.
When I fast, I begin to recognize how I truly hunger for Him.
By fasting, I recognize that “binge-eating”—overindulging in materialistic or shallow endeavors—denied me the source of life. Christ—through the Eucharist—provides me the Bread of Life. And through the Word nourishes my soul.