How the Christmas Fast led to me to quit swearing

Fasting and abstinence gives us an opportunity to set things right in our lives. The lead up to a big feast is more than just a time of organising our houses, what clothes we will wear and what gifts we will give. It is the time each of us should be reflecting on ourselves and considering what we need to change.

Below is an anonymous testimony about one person’s transformation through fasting and abstinence.

“I generally consider myself a good Christian. I go to Mass each Sunday, care for people around me and love my neighbour. From a young age, I swore. It was a habit especially when I was around friends or at work. I knew I could control my swearing, because in some contexts I did not swear. One Christmas fast I decided I would abstain from swearing. One of the older men at work got so excited he made me up “a cup of atonement” and each time I swore I had to put $1 in it. The money would eventually go to charity. Over the first few days that cup got very full. As the fast progressed, I noticed I was putting less money in the cup. However, the overall change was more transforming than that. I began to become more sensitive to when others swore and I recognised that generally they were doing it in moments of anger. I realised that swearing was shielding in me a deeper issue. It was masking my anger. By not swearing, I was required to face my anger head on and suddenly I was finding ways to temper it. I broke two habits!

This is not intended to be a condemnation of people who swear. My mother, who never swore, had begged me for years to stop and I did not. Each person must investigate themselves and consider what is distancing them from the Lord. They must choose their time and commit to the change. But I assure you, it is transforming once you achieve it.”

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