Easter People Choose to BE GREEN…and Continue to Fast and Feast

Fr. Ricopar Royan, SDB


Easter means FULLER LIFE, a rejuvenated life with all its expressions. Fasting need not end with Lent. Fasting does not exclude Feasting. In some sense, fasting is feasting. They are two sides of the same coin. Here, I do not mean fasting in the context of food but fasting from some habits and behaviours. This continuous fasting enhances one’s personal and social life, and benefits our natural environment.  

Fast from ‘BUSYNESS’ and Feast in Relationships

Jesus had the habit of withdrawing himself at night to a solitary place, for silence and contemplation, to communicate with God. It is a nostalgic memory of His Jordan days. But when the morning dawns, he walks with his disciples, dines with outcasts, restores the dignity of women, heals the lepers and celebrates relationships.  

In the fast-paced world, we get caught up in the whirlwind of tasks and obligations. We find ourselves constantly on the go and feel guilty if we are not busy. Our lifestyle is marked with a sense of urgency and a never-ending pursuit of productivity, often at the cost of vital connections with our loved ones and the essentials of life. This is too risky. Busyness may maximise monetary benefits but at the cost of loving relationships and orientation to life.

We need to fast from this ‘noise’ and ‘busyness’ of life. Rise from the emptiness of life to a life full of trustful relationships. Taking out a few minutes a day alone quietly wrapped in gratitude, can produce truly amazing results in relationships. When you relax, breathe deeply, and are mindful and alive with a sense of inner ease, this state is not only a source of personal contentment but brings in serenity in others as well. And so, there is the urgency of spending deep-moments with the Lord and transforming it with deep bonding, spending quality time with loved ones. Resurrected relationships are real feasts of life.     

Fast from ‘SCREENS’ and Feast with Nature

Recent research on screentime by Data Reportal, alarms us that an average screentime across the world, between the ages of 16 and 64, is 6.37 hours per day, and more specifically, we stare at our smartphone for about 3.46 hours every day. They conclude, we spend, on an average, 44 per cent of our waking hours looking at screens. Edward Tufte says, “There are only two industries that call their customers ‘users’: illegal drugs and software.” All social media is competing for our attention. They are free. If you are not paying for a product, then you are their product. The advertisers are the customers. We are being sold. These engagements not only fragment our attention but our commitments, relationships and purpose of life. We need to fast from this obsession, which keeps modifying our emotions and behaviours and declines our self-esteem and life satisfaction.

Instead, we have a healthy entertainer, which not only engages us but nourishes us. Eco-psychology and evolutionary psychology suggest that humans are genetically programmed by evolution with an affinity for the natural outdoors. They use the term biophilia to refer to this innate, hereditary emotional bondage of humans to nature and other living organisms. It is feasting when we are out with the natural environment. Rachel Carson would say, “If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantment of later years, the sterile preoccupation with things that are artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength.” To walk with nature, with sincere recognition and appreciation, will lead us to higher knowledge, personal acceptance and a sense of purpose. This is real feasting.   

Fast from ‘BUYING’ and Feast with what you already own

It is an irony to hear from Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, “What consumerism really is, at its worst, is getting people to buy things that don’t actually improve their lives.” The habit of accumulating stems from fears and insecurities but it is exploited by corporations and advertising. We learn from studies that what people consume is responsible for up to 60% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Consumerism, which has grown at an unprecedented pace, has its mountains of waste and no compensation for our mistakes. Humans have developed this habit of limitless consumption, personally ending up with dissatisfaction and frustration and finally filling the earth and ocean with waste. Philosopher J. Krishnamurthy would say, “If one really loved the earth, there would be frugality in using the things of the earth.”  

 Yes, we need to fast from ‘purchasing.’ With every purchase, we consume the resources of the world, sometimes depriving the poor of their share.  Everyone has a little ‘junk’ lying around the house. This mess causes stress. The things that were supposed to help us, end up ruling us. Tyler Durden puts it, “The things you own end up owning you.”

 Jesus was insisting us travel lightly, no extra baggage. The journey of life should be light and enjoyable. “In his riches, man lacks wisdom,” says the Psalm. Having less is feasting. Fumio Sasaki, a writer and a minimalist, confirms, “Having parted with the bulk of my belongings, I feel true contentment with my day-to-day life. The very act of living brings me joy.” It’s the right time to choose a simpler lifestyle. Leading a simpler life is not about getting rid of all your belongings and living with barely anything. It is about living with what is essential and necessary. Start an internal conversation on ‘why I own what I own.’ We need to embrace the axiom: contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want but the realization of what you already have.

 These ‘fasts’: fasting from ‘busyness,’ ‘screens,’ and ‘buying’ are Easter signs of people who continually feast with the Risen Lord.