When the true seriousness of COVID-19 struck our area and social distancing began, we were about to begin a 3-day Parish Lenten Mission at our church. One of the things the mission priest, Fr. Zachary, SOLT, said over and over during his Sunday homily inviting us to the mission was “Fast from Fear, Feast on Trust.”
The first time I heard it in Mass I thought, “That’s exactly what people need to hear during this time. I can’t wait to hear the rest of his message.”
The next time I heard “Fast from Fear, Feast on Trust,” I was sitting with over 100 people in my church the first night of the mission. All day we’d wondered if this was going to be the only night of the mission because news was changing so quickly on what gatherings our County and Archdiocese would allow to continue.
The next day, the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston announced public Masses were suspended and groups of more than 50 should not gather so we had very few people in the pews for that night of the mission. Once again, Fr. Zachary said, “Fast from Fear, Feast on Trust.” I thought, “It’s a good, inspiring message for what’s going on at the moment. I’m so glad I’m recording this so the rest of the parish can hear it.”
The third day of the parish mission, I was sitting in an empty church. The church was shut due to further social distancing measures, but Fr. Zachary gave the last talk straight to the camera so I could record it for the parish to watch from home.
“Fast from Fear, Feast on Trust.” This time, when I heard those words, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Sitting there alone, I realized I was consumed with fear. Fear of what was happening and fear of what it all would mean for myself, my family, my parish, my community, the country, our world. I just sat at the video panel and sobbed while he kept talking to the camera. “Fast from Fear, Feast on Trust.”
This was a gut check for me, and I knew it. I write and speak about knowing that God is with me always and how knowledge of His love guides my life and fills me with joy. So why was I so afraid? Why was I not Feasting on Trust?
I sat there while Fr. Zachary continued talking and made a list of how I was failing at trusting in God. When I finished my list, I heard Fr. Zachary say, “Now is the time to turn towards God.” With those words on my heart, I prayed over my list and invited the Holy Spirit to strengthen and guide me to trust like never before.
In the days since, I’ve been continuing my prayer to Feast on Trust, and Fast from Fear. While some days are better than others, I’ve become a bit more calm and even tempered at home with my family, and I’m purposely looking around for the small, unintended benefits that are occurring during this uncertain time to hold those close. I acknowledge that I need to trust God to bring good out of this time and not to fear the unknown.
Pray with me – Lord, Help me to Fast from Fear and Feast on Trust in You. Amen.