In the Magnificat prayer book (German version), it was pointed out that during Lent we fast for something, not against. This is the Christian understanding of this holy season of Lent. We are called to fast for repentance, for growing in holiness, and for being able to imitate Christ more perfectly, who fasted for 40 days in the desert.

This is in contrast to a hunger strike, for example, where refraining from food and drink is done in order to take a stand against an injustice or a lack of awareness of a cause.

Similarly flipped is the Christian understanding of social change. It is not achieved through revolution against the system, but rather through conversion of heart, of our own hearts first. If our hearts are converted, then social justice and peace will prevail.

As this holy season of Lent begins, let’s focus on what for we are fasting, and let our own hearts turn to the Lord so that He, mysteriously though us, can effect real change in the world.