Last week we talked about one of the three pillars of the Lenten spiritual practice: prayer, or at least praying in a different way. This week let’s think about the second pillar: fasting. Sometimes people roll their eyes at fasting, thinking it masochistic or antiquated. Yet those same people have no trouble with dieting, to lose weight for example. I’m always amazed that people are fine with dieting for physical reasons but have a problem with fasting for spiritual reasons. Fasting does a number of things for us. First, it’s often healthy, since many of us, at least in the West, eat more than we need. Second, it reminds us that we have some control over our bodies. But it’s the third reason that is often lost on people: to save money so that we can give to the poor. That was one of the main reasons for fasting in ancient times, and it’s a good one to recover. So after all those meatless nights, you might do a quick calculation of how much you’ve saved and give it to a homeless person or a local charity. God would be happy about that, I think, especially during Lent.