Saturday, February 21, 2009

Fasting a Spiritual Cleansing

I'm sorry I haven't been on in a few days I've been battling a flue bug which is still hanging around I must say . I enjoy fasting very much .More so in summer months then winter though .I find summer the kids are out and about more so I tend to have more liesure time to not exert myself to much as well . I never gave much to fasting while raising or nursing children .As well I always linked fasting to giving up food and this is something I don't have trouble doing with any way .I think my childhood name of little sparrow may have been fitting as I tend to eat like a sparrow anyway ;-) However as I grew as an adult on my spiritual walk I see fasting in the cleansing & spiritual sence .Physically when we fast and cleanse our bodies we are going to be more open in our communication with Him .We will i n turn be willing to cleanse ourselves of our unneeded sin , wants etc. Fasting is a great way to the sacrament of reconcilliation .
I don't tend to fast during lent as I have my specific times already I am called to fasting . We keep from treats and limit computer time but I like to focus more on the working on and owning of stuff .Teaching about sin , reconcilliation and forgiveness to be reborn to have that ultimate conversion . I don't like new yrs resolutions I prefer lent ;-)
I was frist thinking of fasting truely going without food, water etc. when I came to the DJM . I knew I was being led to this however the only fast I knew of was the one my spiritual director attends each yr. it is 3 days in the bush and very isoltaed . I was still nursing and it still is not an option for me . Then I felt the call again for a spiritual fast two yrs ago. I started with bread and water fasting as I am still not in the position to fast on nothing . For me fasting is now a big part of my prayer life & work in intercession . A dear friend loaned me a book on fasting titled Fasting for Spiritual Break Through . It is a wonderful book to get a good idea of what type of fasting and where you feel He is leading you regarding your fast. I began with the Disciples fast as I was finsihing up my formation in discipleship .It seemed appropriate .
As with anything I want to remind people always, always if you feel led to something or have an ailment etc. begin with prayer please . Also regarding fasting I feel very strongly this is an intimate time for us in our own specific relationship with Him . We are not to mimic anyone elses fast .We are all unique individuals made in His own image ;-) so every single person's fast will be thier own . Also for this very intimate purpose we are not to go on and on telling others we are fasting or going to fast . I almost always only speak of my fast afterwards not before . However we are also not called to be neglectful of our own health & welfare ;-) I always inform my family when I will be entering into and preparing to fast . This is just being responsible for as I say our own helath but also if we are living with others how can they be expected to have any type of reverance around us if they are unaware . My example is last yr while fasting at the cottage I could not go off running down the beach in the hot sun with the kids .They were aware of my fasting so we would save any beaching for the cool of the evening when I could walk . During the day they swam while I lay in the shade and read etc.
The other thing with fasting is , purpose ? Is it just to be showy and pitiful; to appear holier then others ? we are all capable of that ;-) however this is not the true purpose His purpose for leading us to fasting .. I feel very called for physical cleansing myself . I have a weak immune system from addictions in my youth and from being covered in malathion by a spray truck . Also on a spiritual level in work laying of hands etc. It is good to cleanse ourselves physically as well as spiritually. So for my body personally this is a purpose .I think most of us can identify with this having a good cleansing . The other purpose is that relationship I mentioned .To be able to be open to and recieve the grace of union ( many more graces will follow once we receive union ) . To be one with our Creator will then open us up to recieve more in order go on being , just being who we are called to be ;-) in our everyday relationships and work .
So how do I fast ? I can only speak of my own fasting . I also personally want to mention I don't really look at surrender and giving up as fasting because to give up that which was not good for us in the first place .well we should really be trying never to retrun to that which was harmful in the beginning . So giving up smoking is not fasting in my own personal opinion ;-)
Well how do I fast . As I said I began with bread and water . As I grow and keep praying more is led to me .That is how we work is it not ;-) Forever open , changing , learning = growth .
Thru prayer I felt led to a fast I call the Trinity Fast . Simple as always . a 3 day fast I can handle being a wife , mother & granny . I because of my specific prayer time choose this usually 3 days before the fullmoon . I'm up anyway praying the rosary so why not make this my fasting time as well . So I'm sure you've guessed it I make and dedicate each day to each person of the Holy Trinity . 3 days = Father , Son & Holy Spirit . I tend to try and make this time a focus not on what I want but where , what and how are each Person of the Trinity guiding me in my own personal relationship . I also offer up prayers for those whom I feel He has been asking me to intercede for . That is it . I will tell you on the 3rd day I am always cleansed and often a very special gift is given be it a special walk on the beach or a night under the moon , an eagle feather given etc.
Now as I mentioned I started off on bread and water .However , I personally am not a bread eater .I tend to not get along with levened yeasty breads . So for me this is not a good option for fasting . This is what I mean by our own personal fast and growth . I began my fasts with junky white french bread and bottled water . So what are my options . For me I began to look at teas I could drink to help in my cleansing . So like I said I prayed .I prayed for each day of my fast not just the whole thing . So for the 1st day I was led to parsley & corriander . I also may add thistle to this but not always as it is used only if one is really toxic. For my 2nd day with Him the Son I almost always go with water clear and pure . I try to just boil my own tap water as I truely do not wish to purchase bottles. On the 3rd day I go with white tea as I am with the Holy Spirit .
As far as bread goes I personally now like to stay away from the wheat flower thing as best I can .If I do I go with a pita or pratha type bread using whole wheat . I also like a very dark rye bread at times but my favorite choice and seems best on my body are rice cakes & crakers . Now no this does not mean you can choose dill pickle rice crackers lol . However the purpose of my fast is to be good to my body to treat it like the temple it is ;-) so rice is the ingrediant best for my body who He created me to be ;-) As I said He will guide you to your own personal way .
The next thing is I think it good to mention as well is our body the temple . I also bath much using herbs , trees, flowers etc. Now during my everyday prayers I will do this as well as oil baths for my skin conditions . However for my fasting I will bath specifically in plants etc. I am led to use . I almost always am called to use juniper in the beginning as it is a detox treeshrub . I often use birch and willow as well as these are specific to female issues as well willow is great for my arthritus . Lately I feel called to try comfrey thanks to Anne ;-) I also like to on the days of my fast to use the 3 sacramentals Holy Salt , Holy Water , Holy Oil . Salt for Purification , Water for Blessing , Oil to Protect .
When breaking a fast remember to offer your body that which is good for it ;-) Do not go right back into eating pie , coffee & icecream . My personal fav is mango , shrimp & chopped onion with lots of lime juice and cilantro ;-)
That is about it once again remember begin with Him , share with your partner , spiritual director and most of all be open to where and how He leads you ;-) I'm hoping to post some recipes for the lenten season . We do not go totally without meat and we also have a vegaterion here in the house so I should be able to come up with a bit of a mix to share . Most of all I hope you all have a great lenten season full of much work & change ~ Amen

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