What Fridays Are Good For

One of the books that changed my life is a tiny, short book called The Illumined Heart, by Frederica Mathewes-Green.

Out of everything I’ve read and talked about, my wife and I have probably given away more copies of this book than any other.

I can’t even remember how I stumbled across it, but I read it around 2010, I think. It’s a few things: an introduction to the Eastern Orthodox stream of the faith, and also a description of what Christianity was like (as best we can tell) in the first few hundred years after Jesus, the period that some Church Historians call “Classic Christianity.”

One of the things that Mathewes-Green notes is that early Christians structured their weeks in a symbolic, rhythmic way that did not only include Sundays.

They also FASTED weekly on Wednesdays and Saturdays. They fasted on Wednesday because that’s the day that Judas agreed to betray Jesus; Friday was a fast because it was the day of the crucifixion.

I try to keep the fast: mostly from sunup to sundown. No meat, smaller portions, etc.

Time is a gift, and we can use it in a way that reflects our deepest priorities and desires.

Fasting, or structuring your week like this, is an easy way to deepen your spiritual journey, and to bring up both struggles you weren’t aware of (just wait until you get really hungry) and spiritual aspirations you didn’t know you were capable of.