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Alumni Posts

Preparing to Fast

by Alumni Posts on February 24, 2011

in Faith

So, I’m Baha’i.

The Baha’i faith is a major world religion with believers in more than 200 countries and territories. It was founded in Persia in Bahá’u’lláh in the mid 1800’s. This faith emphasizes the spiritual unity of all humankind, believing all religions worship the same God, men and women are equal, and science and religion agree and must both develop equally for the advancement of human wisdom. There’s a lot more to it than this, of course, but it is a beautiful, universal, welcoming faith, and I encourage you to learn more about it.

Anyway, the Baha’is have a period of fasting, similar to Ramadan in the Islamic faith. It’s 19 days, from March 2nd until March 21st (ending right before Spring Break!) During this period of fasting, Baha’is abstain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset. Not everyone has to fast, of course—pregnant or nursing women, elderly people and young children, people who are sick, people who are traveling, and those who engage in heavy labor are exempt—but it is seen as a wonderful opportunity. It’s been described as “an annual renewal of faith” and “an invigoration, an annual cleansing.” It is a time of prayer and meditation, where we focus ourselves on God instead of selfish and carnal desires.

I’m excited about this time, but I expect it will be difficult. It will mean careful planning to make sure I still have a healthy diet; it will mean a dedicated focus to get through tennis practices and classes on no food or water. I’m looking forward to this challenge, to this opportunity to demonstrate love and devotion to God. If I should fail, and find that I cannot keep up with my duties while fasting, I won’t feel regret. I’d rather try for God, knowing he loves and forgives all I do.

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