March 29: Breaking the Cycle
View Video Transcript
Every year when we promote the Best Lent Ever program experience, we say, “Don’t give up chocolate for Lent this year.” It’s not that we shouldn’t give up chocolate, but it’s the idea that, that is the focus of Lent for so many people.
And while it’s good for us to give something up, it’s also good for us to do something very positive—to take on a new habit.
It’s amazing how just watching these videos can set the tone for your day, or set the theme for your day, or impact you over the course of Lent. But I think it is important that we not lose sight of fasting as one of the central concepts of Lent.
Why do we fast? God uses fasting to liberate us.
There’s a fabulous story in the Scriptures. Jesus sends out the disciples in twos and gives them power to do all sorts of things. When they’re coming back, a couple of the disciples encountered this child. They try to heal the child, but they can’t. And then Jesus comes along and . . . bam. He takes care of it. He gets it done. And the disciples are like, “Well, hold on Jesus. You sent us out. You told us we were going be able to do the things you do. What happened here? Why couldn’t we get this done?” Jesus says, “Some demons can only be cast out by prayer and fasting.”
Think about what overwhelms you, what enslaves you, and what gets you down and keeps you down. What is the one thing that you’re struggling with, or what’s the one thing you’ve been struggling with for a decade or for two decades?
This is the message that Jesus has for us in those situations, because we’re all struggling with something. You’ve got your thing, I’ve got my thing. It might change at different times in our lives, but we are all struggling with something. Jesus’ message to us in that is, “Guess what? It doesn’t matter how strong your will is. You might have the strongest willpower of any person in your circle of influence, but willpower isn’t going to get this done.”
Because you’ve tried, haven’t you? You’ve tried to overcome that thing you’re struggling with. You put all your your mind strength into it, but it’s still there. It still kicks your butt.
What Jesus is saying to us is, “You can’t do this. First thing you have to realize is that you can’t overcome this. It’s bigger than you, and you need me to help you overcome this.”
Some demons can only be cast out by prayer and fasting.
What is it in your life that can only be cast out by prayer and fasting? Are you praying about it? Are you coming before God and saying, “Hey God, I don’t have this. I can’t get this done. I’ve tried it a hundred times. I throw myself on your mercy. I’m begging you to help me with this.”
But the second thing is the fasting. Fasting is self-denial. It’s saying, “I will give something up. I will deny myself my pleasure, my cravings, my self-interest. I will deny myself. I will fast.”
Once you experience the power of fasting in your life, you’ll be absolutely converted to its power. You’ll give a place to it in your life forever.
It’s like so many things when it comes to God and church and religion: We talk about it and it’s interesting, but once we experience it . . . that’s when it changes us. That’s when it makes us that new creation that Jesus talked about so often when he walked the earth.
So, rediscover fasting. Think about what it is and how can you employ it in your life. How is God inviting you to make it a part of your spirituality?
Matthew Kelly, Resisting Happiness
We are all struggling with something. Identify your something. Name it. Own it.
Pray and fast, asking God to liberate you from that area of slavery in your life.
Heavenly Father, I want to be free. Help me give this struggle to you, because you are the only one who can liberate me.
Today’s personal reflection features Dynamic Catholic team member Rachel Carbon. Rachel is our web marketer, coming to us from Hershey, Pennsylvania. Rachel loves glitter, has an inordinate number of houseplants, and if she could be any animal she would be a flamingo.
How have you overcome a big struggle in your life?
Let us know in the comments!