Fernando Botero walk-in-the-hills

Fernando Botero, Walk in the hills (1977)  Private Collection

It’s not easy to fast.

Do I look like a man who fasts?

No, because it’s not easy.

“Father, look what I baked for you this morning!”

And they spread out little scones and pastries before me

and how can I resist?

It would be rude not to.

After all, they baked them for me.  How could I refuse?


And my cassock gets tighter and tighter

and my collar… well sometimes I can hardly breathe.

I feel as if I’ll choke if I eat one more morsel

but still they come, those little baked delights.


Forty days, Jesus fasted in the wilderness

and I can barely last forty minutes.

My spirit is willing, Lord, but my flesh is so weak.

Oh I want to fast. I really do.

I know I should offer it up, put the money in the poor-box.

And I shall tell them that on Sunday from the pulpit.

I shall tell them and they will look at one another.


Look at him! What right has he to tell me to fast?

Living in that big house while we are cramped in one room.

And look at the size of him!

Hypocrite! That’s what he is.


I know that’s what they’re thinking and of course they’re right.  But they don’t understand it’s an illness.

I can’t help myself.  Really I can’t.

So I walk in the hills and I pray.

Lead me not into temptation, Lord, I pray.

Lead me from the biscuits.


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