Tag Archives: Lent

Fasting for the body and the soul

Lent -a  season of the Christian church year

Lent starts on Ash Wednesday and continues until Easter Sunday.

Observed by Catholic , Orthodox, and Protestant Christians, (although the dates may differ) Lent is a time of spiritual reflection, contemplation, renewal,  and commitment.

Christians accomplish this in various ways such as special religious services, readings, music, prayer and meditation,  and service.

But probably the best known and observed is the practice of fasting.

people holding lit candles in the dark

What is fasting?

Simply put, fasting means to refrain from  foods and/or drink either partially or completely, for a specified time periods.  Religions other than Christianity also practice some form of fasting.

Traditionally, one  observed Lent by avoiding certain types of food (particularly meat, eggs, and milk products).  In some traditions, partial fasts were observed where participants would eat only one meal on certain days. Another way to fast is to avoid all food for a specified time frame, usually one day.

Many who observe Lent today are not as strict.  Often they choose to abstain from a particular food or particular behavior such as television or social media during Lent.

The purpose of fasting during Lent  is to refrain from something to redirect the time and energy  on our relationship to God.

man praying on holy bible in the morning

Medical fasting

You may be more familiar with fasting for medical reasons.

We physicians frequently ask patients to fast for 8-12 hours prior to performing certain blood tests. The meaning of the result may be different depending on how long ago the patient had eaten. This is the case when we test for diabetes (sugar or glucose) and hyperlipidemia ( cholesterol and triglyceride).

Another common time for medical fasting is prior to surgery or procedures, especially those done under general anesthesia. Many people become nauseated at this time and may throw up or regurgitate stomach contents. If these get sucked down into the lungs it can cause respiratory distress and lead to pneumonia, both serious complications of surgery. Having the stomach empty of food and liquid can minimize this risk .

There is evidence now that intermittent fasting may aid in weight loss. Dr. Monique Tello discusses intermittent fasting for the Harvard Health Blog at this link.

Intermittent fasting: Surprising update

ashes in the shape of a cross

40 days of sorrow

The 40 days of Lent are also a time of grief.

This tradition begins with the first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday. Ashes are put on believers’ foreheads during religious services as a sign of repentance.

The practice of putting ashes on one’s head is an ancient sign of mourning that was often done at funerals or similarly sorrowful occasions.  In this case, the ashes represent sorrow over our sins and the pain and death caused by sin.

two women sitting on a rug with open books

Whether you formally observe Lent or not, we may consider this as a time to slow down, quiet the noise in our lives, open our hearts, and listen for new inspiration for using our gifts to create new ways to serve others.

“For even the Son of Man  (Jesus ) came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Mark 10:45 NLT
New Living Translation (NLT)Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

40 Days of Decrease

Last year I experienced Lent with this devotional book by Alicia Britt Chole and I recommend it to help you observe a spiritually meaningful “fast” during Lent.

(Please note this is an affiliate link, a link which will help support this blog with a commission when a purchase is made.)


Every day offers a meaningful consideration of Jesus’ journey and then invites readers into a daily fast of heart-clutter, the stuff that sticks to our souls and weighs us down. 

Amazon

Thanks for exploring the HEART of health with me.

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I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here.

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                              Dr. Aletha 

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March Timely Topics-doctors, spring, and sleep

March comes “in like a lion and goes out like a lamb” -at least where I live. But March also concludes with Doctors’ Day on March 30, a day to recognize physicians and their service to our health needs.

Rather than waiting til the end, I will share stories by and about physicians all month long here and on social media.

March timely topics include

  • winter health concerns
  • spring health issues
  • sleep changes due to Daylight Saving Time change

faith, hope, and love

And in the faith, hope, and love selections we’ll remember St. Patrick and meditate on devotions for Lent.

Good-by Google+

Sometime in April the Google+platform will end. Thanks to all of you who followed and shared my posts there. Please continue following me here and on other social media.

I am most active on Facebook and Pinterest, but you can also find my blog posts at Twitter and LinkedIn.

with my thanks

I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here.

To start following Watercress Words , use this form to get an email notification of new posts . And please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn, links are on the left side bar here and the Home page.

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                              Dr. Aletha 

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