For a Dynamic Fast

March 22, 2022

The following is a reflection by Fr. Alain Lorans.

Lent is the time of fasting: less food for the body, and more food for the soul. As the Preface for this liturgical season says: “vitias compresses, mentem elevas” (my God, you who, by bodily fasting, repress vices, elevate the soul, grant strength and reward). It is time for less food, more prayers, spiritual readings, meditations...

However, this desire will only be effective if it is accompanied by a firm resolution, held in a dynamic way: fasting from screens, abstinence from the media. In other words, less time wasted on the Internet, in front of the computer or the television, and beside the radio.

Because what is the use of wanting to pray more, if we never cease to feed an insatiable curiosity, if we remain on the lookout for everything that circulates on the airwaves, with the ridiculous desire to seize the everyday political news?

Lent is in vain when we do not refrain from swamping our minds with all this media noise, immediately chased away by the news of the next day.

Paul Verlaine perfectly described the spiritual misery that hides today under an overabundance of information:

Also, this ignorance of You!

Having eyes and not seeing You,

A soul and not conceiving of You,

A spirit without news of You!

A spirit without news of the Eternal, a soul immersed in the temporal! Beings forgetful of the essential, but gnawed by the greed of all that is accidental.

And besides, how can you claim to read the news without the assistance of eternity? We know everything, but we understand nothing. Light is sorely lacking. How can we be interested in the “only necessary thing” when we are only concerned with the multiple, changing, biodegradable accessories?

“Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Mt. 4:4). He does not live on all the human words that blow away, but on the word of God which remains.

Lent should allow us to put aside what screens grace. Starting with these screens which, for the most part, are only walled up windows, where the Light that has come into this world does not pass. Doomed openings, closed to Him who is “the way, the truth, and the life” (Jn. 14:6).