Fasting and Hunger

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By about 11:30 on Ash Wednesday, I feel hungry. And it’s on purpose. It is part of my Lenten sacrifice, to unite with Christ’s suffering. I know that I can handle one day of fasting. I also know that the next day, I can eat again. I am one of the lucky ones. It’s short-term. There are those who are forced to feel hunger every day.

Probably you can relate to this and know what fasting feels like. Can you imagine being hungry all the time, or worrying about where your next meal will come from?

According to Bread for the World, 14.5 percent of U.S. households—nearly 49 million Americans, including 15.9 million children—struggle to put food on the table. And this is not for a lack of food resources in the US, but a result of poverty and income inequality.

Ignatian Volunteers serve in many agencies that provide food, the most basic necessity, to the hungry. They respond to Jesus’ call to “feed my sheep”, in the most literal sense.

This month, read about one of these volunteers, Wanda Dean of IVC Cleveland, who works in a Catholic Charities food pantry. She describes her role “accompanying” those she serves, being present to them as they come for food. And she leaves her time at the pantry feeling nourished as well by her encounters with Christ there, in the people she serves – seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary days.

In your Lenten practices of fasting, let’s do so in solidarity with those who hunger in our cities and towns, those who Wanda and other Ignatian Volunteers serve, and the Christ who suffered and died on the cross out of love for us.

May this Lenten season be a transforming grace for you. Thank you for being part of our IVC community.

In gratitude,

Mary