Sunday, May 30, 2010

Fasting, Part 2

So, how did it go? Did you eat something before Mass? I have to say, I had some qualms after I made the suggestion. In the end, being Catholic is about making it your own, and part of that is not simply taking things on anybody's say so, but using the input of others to help you figure it out for yourself. I certainly hope you didn't eat if it felt like a betrayal of any kind. It was just a suggestion!

Here's my experience: On any number of occasions, I've broken the one hour fast rule. And in part I didn't really give it too much attention, because I thought, ah, old rules, no real relevance today.

But having broken the rule, I found I appreciated it more. To me, it's strange to go to communion feeling full. It's like I've missed the point entirely, or like, why exactly am I up here? Clearly, the eucharist is not supposed to be all the calories you need for one of your meals of the day. But still, it is food. And if I don't actually physically have any need for that, it doesn't exactly feel right.

Also, personally I find it weird to have some particular taste in my mouth at communion time. It sort of distracts me from what I'm there for, pulls me out of the experience.

So for me, the rule is sort of about being available. Going to Mass, I want to be open to the experience that is going to be offered to me. If I go on a full stomach, or have other tastes in my mouth, I'm less available. There's something else already there.

That's my two cents. As always, I'd be interested to hear others.

Americans, have a Happy Memorial Day!


M Russell said...

Our Sunday Mass is at 1230pm, so I ate a full lunch prior to Mass, which I never do. It did change the experience for me -- after thinking about it, it seems that fasting (at least when Mass is at a regular meal time) can create a feeling of physical hunger, which for me reminds me of my own spiritual hunger which is satisfied through Jesus, the Eucharist and Mass. Having a full stomach, I didn't experience the "hunger" which I am accustomed to, and receiving the Eucharist created no special feeling within. Often, when I have fasted prior to Mass, I have physical sensations of trembling after the receipt of the Eucharist, which may have some physiological basis but for me it "feels" like a pouring of the Spirit into me and always serves to draw me deeper into my prayer. I missed that, and will continue my practice of a fast prior to Mass. -- Michelle

Jim McD said...

Thanks for sharing, Michelle. As you can tell, I have a similar experience. Even when I'm not consciously aware of it, the physical hunger keeps me in touch with my spiritual need.

Great words. Thanks for them.