29th August

Fasting In Honour Of Christ’s Death

The Lord watches over those who obey him, those who trust in his constant love. He saves them from death; he provides for them in time of famine. Psalm 33: 18, 19

The young monk Cuthbert was travelling by horse on a Friday. On Fridays many Christians refrained from eating until afternoon because they wanted to make an act of solidarity with their Lord who was nailed to the cross on a Friday. Cuthbert stopped at a house during the morning to ask for food for the horse. The house wife there urged him to have something to eat also, because it was winter and there was a long road ahead without any stopping places for food. Cuthbert resolutely declined. As the journey wore on, however, he realised that he would not get to his destination by night. Since he and the horse were now weak through lack of food, he sought shelter in a shepherd’s hut that was not used in winter, and tethered the horse. As he did so some straw fell from the roof and a folded cloth fell too. He picked this up and found to his amazement that there was half a warm loaf inside it and some meat. ‘Praise God’, he said, ‘who has deigned to provide a supper for me who am fasting out of love for him’, and he divided the bread with the horse.

From that day Cuthbert became more ready than ever to fast, for he realised that the same God who had fed the fasting prophet Elijah in a deserted place had provided for him also, and delights to do this for those who follow the path of denial. We, too, can follow this path, which means taking up our Cross daily.

Christ’s Cross over this face and thus over this ear
Christ’s Cross over these eyes … this mouth … this throat …
the back of this head … this side …
to accompany before me … to accompany behind me …
Christ’s Cross to meet every difficulty
both on hollow and on hill …
Christ’s Cross over my community
Christ’s Cross over my church
Christ’s Cross in the next world
Christ’s Cross in this world
Early Irish Lyrics