This week we’ve been looking at the penitential practices of Lent — especially fasting. One of the hidden benefits of fasting is that it reminds us to live lightly on the earth.
Study after study shows that the a relatively small part of the world’s population uses the largest share of the resources and, in so doing, causes much damage to the environment. Think about it — our desire for cheap, plentiful food has led to factory farms where animals live in inhumane conditions and the pollution sullies soil and water. Our desire for cheaper energy and consumer goods pours pollution into the atmosphere and the water table and fills our oceans and landfills with refuse.
Lent is a time to say, “ENOUGH.” Enough with destroying our common home — and the home of future generations. Enough with valuing people only on the basis of what they produce. Enough with the need to acquire ever more.
By fasting, we live more lightly on the earth, taking only what we need, sharing what we have. Fasting — and all of Lent, really — helps us to repent, move beyond selfishness and sin, and be converted to a new way of living in harmony with God, our neighbors, and all of creation.