I can hardly believe that this week sees the start of Lent. Did you have pancakes on shrove Tuesday? I have to confess it’s always been one of my favourite days. As a child in our home we called it pancake day and held to the spirit of giving up something for Lent even though we didn’t often go to church.
However fasting in lent has always been a bit like making a new year’s resolution for me. I start off with really good intentions and then within a few days I’m usually left feeling pretty disappointed with myself even nowadays as a practising Christian.
This year however, a friend sent me Pope Francis’ suggestions for fasting and they seem like some wonderful ways to live life as a whole rather than just during Lent. No matter what your faith or belief I think this way of fasting can make for a more fulfilled and peaceful life. I hope that you too find them helpful.
So in the words of Pope Francis:
- Fast from hurting words and say kind words.
- Fast from sadness and be filled with gratitude.
- Fast from anger and be filled with patience.
- Fast from pessimism and be filled with hope.
- Fast from worries and have trust in God.
- Fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity.
- Fast from pressures and be prayerful.
- Fast from bitterness and fill your hearts with joy.
- Fast from selfishness and be compassionate to others.
- Fast from grudges and be reconciled.
I hope that you too will take up the challenge to follow at least one of these suggestions for fasting during Lent and that you will find that your life feels so much more joyful and peaceful. What a great way to care for our mental health and well-being though some of these suggestions are not easy to implement. They may call for quite a change in our mindset and approach. I’d love to hear what you think or how you get on if you do take up the challenge this Lent.
As always if you’d like to talk to a chaplain you are very welcome to call or text me directly on my mobile: 07526 378529. Alternatively you can email email@example.com and request a call back.
For more information on supporting wellbeing, we have a range of resources on our web-site including some that are more specific to the Covid-19 outbreak and some that help in dealing with stress in general: https://mite.org.uk/quietspace and you can find other resources on Mental Health Matters and in this TED talk How to be kinder to yourself amongst many other online offerings that will come up in any Google search.
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