Going Fast

When I was young, fasting meant
PBJ or grilled cheese at lunch,
creamed tuna or fish sticks for dinner
on our meatless Lenten Fridays.
The priests and nuns said God
willed us to change up the menu,
but never explained why, just that
once it was complete we earned our
Easter candy and a week of ham.
Now you tell me you’re forcing
a spiritual, a physical hunger
upon yourself, because you long
for some abstraction, an ideal,
not something tangible like
a Coney Island hotdog
or carne asada burrito.

Maybe if I knew how hunger
would bring about “better,”
I’d understand how this sacrifice
of gustatory satisfaction works.
Will you recognize it on
your tongue when your sacrifice
brings the fabulous prize you seek?
When your fast for a greater good
is finally sated, when the world’s
bêtes noires negated, could you
please tell me one more thing?
Peace, does it taste like
chocolate bunnies?

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4 thoughts on “Going Fast

  1. And I wish I could tell you. Interesting how physical/sensual deprivation was always supposed to translate into spiritual purification. In some way, austerity makes one concentrate even more on the item being withheld. Quite thought provoking, Joe.

  2. Excellent philosophy Joseph – I understand the sacrifice – but how does substituting fish for meat measure up to sacrifice. Ok, yes, I’d rather have red meat. But fish is a pretty close third. (after chicken) Life long Catholic – still on my first decade of trying to sort it all out though…..

  3. I also lived through the “mysteries” of a Catholic upbringing, and still wonder the meaning and reasoning behind so many of them. Guess, perhaps like Thomas, I was always a ‘questioner,’ a doubter… I love how you put your thoughts down in such a tangible way that we can understand, visualize, and relate to them. Hoping the subject of this finds their “chocolate bunnies” when their fast is done.

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