Why are Protestants and Catholics ignoring the fasting traditions of Christianity?
Catholics are still required to fast and do penance. Abstinence and fasting. It is highly encouraged and all Catholics should be doing it if possible. However, fasting, if done inappropriately, can be a sources of sin - pride. I remember doing severe fasting in my youth. I probably should not have done it, but I was determined to become a Saint. I would go for long periods, a week, of not eating. i would only drink water. I ended up losing so much weight and to this day I wonder if my anxieties are related to such severe punishments imposed upon my body, mind, thought ht soul probably benefited. I did it throughout my junior year in high school. My stepmom worried about me. I thought she was being silly, because she's Southern Baptist.
It's very difficult for me to fast now, not because I'm a fat sloth, but because I get sick really easy if I don't maintain my nutrition levels. It really depends on the tensions within my home, work and else. One trigger could send me on a real loopy down spiral. Having a history in my family of suicides, its not a good idea for me to expect myself to fast so intently. So I try to abstain from meet and do penance, acts of charity. Reducing a meel down to two small meals in a day is not that difficult, however, in my case it can be challenging. My wife has similar issues and I won't allow her to fast since she triggers very easy now. There are exceptions, and this is why I believe the Church stopped imposing such harsh disciplines upon the faithful.
I love the stories and follow many Orthodox and Eastern Catholic discussions on their fasting experience. I envy them in a respectful way. I just hope that they are offering up their fasts for people like my wife and I, those with medical issues. Meet on Fridays is out. We usually try to do it throughout the year, but have found it expensive in this economy to afford it. That's the irony in all of this. Meet was once considered the premium choice for protein. Now fish is and I love fish, in fact, all seafood. I do not find fish appropriate for me, however, to keep up appearances, I do it anyway. Fish is the healthy choice for folks like us because we need the omega 3s from it. Charitable Acts are very difficult. I try to eat properly during our lent fast. No pride in trying to stay away from foods not as healthy for me. I'm ust trying to take care of what little mind I have left. All of the training I've gone through for my condition dictate a careful diet for the rest of my life. Meds have undesirable side effects, e.g., inflamed sinuses, increased mucus flow, pain on inner ear, sleep problems, mind numbing, etc. One day I hope to find what's really causing all of this anxiety in me. I'm fallowing Dr. Oz to figure it out, hoping to look for the solution.
Right now, death is a much invited state of peace for me. But I have much to live for, and am trying my best not to cling to this life because I may not be allowed to for more than a decade or two. The sad part of that is that I have a 6 year old and a 10 year old in the house to raise. So worrying about what people think about my fasting habits is the least of my problems. There are so many people suffering from mental disorders today that it is very uncharitable to believe that everyone should be doing what "we are doing". Pride is a killer of souls. As a former Protestant, I found it sad that we never fasted or gave up something throughout the year. Now, I am Catholic and find it difficult to even do the least because of my health issues. Lord willing, I'll have about 10 more years left, unless he has mercy on me and extends my life to that of my grandfather who died at age 69. Not much to look forward to in this short life but eternity. I just would like to see my son's ordained and my daughter's solemn vows as a Discalced Carmelite.