In my last post I reflected upon the value of fasting. I also admitted that I have rarely practiced fasting outside of the Church's prescribed days. In the past couple of months however, I have fasted for part of the day - small breakfast, skipped lunch, and then had a big 'ole dinner. Here is something crazy that I've noticed though, and I would love to hear if anyone else has experienced it: If I miss a meal in the course of a usual day - as when I forget my lunch at home - then I feel absolutely famished. But if I tell the Lord that I am going to fast from lunch, then the hunger pains or either light, last for only a brief time, or simply never come.
I notice this on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday too, when we fast for the entire day - the hunger is never as bad as I had expected. Is there something psychological at work here? When we are deprived of food against our will, we pine for it; but when we make an intentional decision to abstain from it, we don't hunger as greatly? And if that is the case, then why do I experience hunger so strongly when dieting? Does offering the hunger as prayer somehow change the psychological/physical experience?