“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you (Matthew 6:16-18).”
“Fat Tuesday”, the day before entering into the Lenten season whereby Christians engage in 40 days of fasting before Easter by indulging in favorite foods. One would think that in a season leading up to the recognition of the crucifixion of Christ there would be more solemn reflection.
In the past Lent was quite rigorous. Christians abstained from any food that came from animals (e.g. butter, eggs, milk, cheese, animal fats etc.), so those foods had to be eaten prior to the Lenten fast or they had to be stored in some way until the fast was completed. Today thoughtful consideration is given as to what one would choose to let go of to develop a closer relationship with Christ. The idea is that during this time we would focus on our spiritual growth as we turn our eyes inward to experience the presence of God and our need for Him.
Over the next 40 days take the time to pull away from worldly pleasures to encounter God, to experience Him as you have never experienced Him before. It is a time to see His glory and to realize how much He loves and cares about you. It is a time of realization that there are many things that we can live without but we can’t live (e.g. truly live) without Him. It is a time of exploration, a time of increased faith, and a time to gain a greater connection with Him.
These next 40 days will be a time of testing, of enduring, of struggle, of waiting, of preparation. But through it all I pray that are enlightened and gain strength through the power of the Holy Spirit to endure whatever lies ahead.