09 February 2018

Does Fasting Still Matter in 2018?

I have to be honest.

For most of my life, I have had a crappy relationship with fasting. As a spiritual practice in the Christian life, my track record usually involved lots of wailing and gnashing of teeth. And lots of whining.

Right after Christmas, I went to the One Thing conference at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. 

While there, we attended a Catholic Ecumenical Tract (CET) led by some of the most Spirit-filled people I have met.

One night we heard Lou Engle preach. 
He is a revivalist who is deeply passionate about prayer and fasting. He spoke with such conviction on the power of regular and extended fasting in the Christian life in a way I have never heard before. He prayed over all present for a spirit of fasting to take hold in our hearts and lives.

As the conference continued, I kept going back to the notes I took and words I heard. I sensed inside of me a call to deeper understanding of fasting.


I was so convicted I came home on January and the next day I started 2018 with a five day water fast.

I ended up going four and a half days, but it deeply impacted me. 

It showed me that I can break my attachments to things of this world. Living in the Western Church where we are swallowed up by consumerism and excess, fasting is a powerful way to discipline my will, body, and spirit.


So really, why do we fast?


We fast to acquire mastery over our desires and experience deeper freedom in Jesus.

As a spiritual discipline, the goal of fasting is to reorient our attention, time, and resources to the things that matter in the Kingdom of God.

In fasting, our disordered desires and attachments die: lust, greed, gluttony, laziness, spiritual lethargy, gossip, hate, self-righteousness, anger, etc. When these things die in us, we become strong in the Spirit. Those fruits of the Holy Spirit will replace and fill in our unhealthy attachments.

When you fast you know you want God more than anything: food, coffee, Netflix. 

Fasting enables our physical body to join our heart in prayer.

We find God in the deserts of fasting not in the desserts of feasting. 

Since that initial water fast, I have been thinking and praying a lot what a lifestyle of regular fasting looks like for me in my life right now. 

I am continuing to explore it and talk about it with Jesus.

While it might sound crazy to go on extended days with only water, it doesn't feel crazy to me.


There have been some helpful resources I have come across as I have been learning and praying more about fasting in my life:

- A book called, The Spirituality of Fasting: Rediscovering a Christian Practice by Charles M. Murphy

-A book called The Complete Guide to Fasting by Dr. Jason Fung. While not a faith-based book, it is more a look at the science behind fasting and its physical effects on the body. I have found it very interesting and helpful.

-A book called, The Jesus Fast: The Call To Awaken The Nations by Lou Engle and Dean Briggs


Please do not hear this as I am a better Christian because I fast a certain way. Fasting will look different for each person.

BUT. 

In the Scriptures Jesus never said "If you fast..." rather He said "When you fast... ." 

Fasting is an ancient Christian practice that would be good for many comfortable hearts and minds...including my own.

No I am not telling you to go home and rustle up some bugs like John the Baptist, and I am not telling you to start a seven day water fast on Monday.

But ask the Holy Spirit what it would look like to fast with a generous spirit in your life. 
And then respond in love.



What has been your experience of fasting on your spiritual journey?

Have you ever done any type of extended fasting?




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13 January 2018

Spend Lent with Women of the Bible

This post does contain affiliate links.


Growing up in my family we were not the type that ever read the Bible together or learned how to pray pray with Scripture. 

I always heard Scripture at Mass and I knew lots of stories about different saints. But I never had a personal relationship with the Word of God. 

It wasn't until my mid to late twenties I really began to fall in love with Scripture in a much more personal, intimate way. 

Several years ago I started to discover the many heroic, strong women of the Old and New Testament. 

I came to see myself and my story in the stories of women like Ruth, Judith, Tamar, Esther, Mary Magdalen, Martha, and Anna the prophetess. Each of them taught me something deeper about myself.

So when I heard the the Blessed Is She Lent Journal would feature a variety women from both the Old and New Testament I got super pumped!



Written by Laura Kelly Fanucci, it promises to be as rich and fruitful as the one she also wrote for Advent this year. Each week will look at different women of the Bible. 

Over the course of Lent we will have spent time praying and reflecting with a variety of women from both the Old and New Testament. Every journal I have used has been a gift to me, some in huge ways and others in a more simple, quiet manner.

Along with the journal itself, we have additional options such as the Lent bundle, which includes a beautiful hand painted print and Marian prayer cards.




And of course we have the first ever Catholic Journaling Bible available! I have been loving mine even though I worry about making it look ugly from time to time ;-). 

Ever since Blessed Is She began, we have always sold out of both the Advent and Lent journals. So please be sure to purchase your copy sooner rather than later. 

Whether it is your first or fifth time doing a liturgical journal with us, I so look forward to spending the 40 days Lent with my sisters in Christ all over the globe.

To purchase your copies of She Who Believed or any other goodies, mosey on over here.


God bless your Lenten journey, sisters. 



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07 January 2018

Merry 2018

... Dusts off the ol' blog ...

Bueller, Bueller? 
Anyone there?

I feel like Christy in that I feel like I forgot how to blog. I don't think if I've ever been great at it but I have enjoyed it and most especially the friends I have made through blogging. 

I have always loved writing but as blogging has changed over time, my commitment to it has had ups and downs. 

It might not earth-shattering or well-polished but I want to make more time this year for putting words here and hopefully having more conversations with you here.



Last week I sat down to go through my PowerSheets from 2017 to reflect and look back on all the moments of the last year.


So many good things. Some hard things too. 


A week into January and it feels like so.much. has already happened in 2018.

I spent the last few days of 2017 at the One Thing conference in Kansas City. 

This weekend at the Encounter Conference with some friends. Let's just say #Encounter2018 is now known as Pentecost Saturday.

Photo by Encounter Ministries
I have spent lots of time snuggling my sweet nephew and getting over a nasty cold.

Tomorrow I start my job as a Pastoral Associate at a new parish.



After Beth did one particular Teachable Tuesday video on a saint and a word for 2018. I have been asking God for a word each new year for several years right now but never done the same with choosing a saint. 

The word I ended up with was PRESENT. When the saint name generator gave me St. Therese of Lisieux I inwardly groaned. 

Before you throw rocks at me, I think part of the reason is Therese and I are definitely opposites of everything from personality, temperament, and Myers-Briggs. After I stopped my whining and gnashing of teeth for not getting someone else, I decided that there are probably some lessons St. Therese has to teach me in the coming year.

Who knows maybe she'll have even more to teach me about being present! :)


Whatever your word or goals for 2018 are, I am hoping the New Year is full of hope and promise.




What is your word or saint for 2018?


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