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Driving in the FAST lane!!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Jesus I Trust in You! Lead us all deeper into Your Love and protect us from the evil one! Posted by Hello

On Fasting:
I am becoming keenly aware that to make further progress in contemplative prayer and to receive special graces that I need or will need to fulfill my vocation as a father and any future vocation and in the realm of spiritual combat I need to regularly enter into a fast. While the Cannons of the Church dictate Friday's without meat during Lent and also fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday to all Her children (with in the norms of the Cannon Law- click here to reference) if I want to grow further spiritually then beyond prayer I need to regularly fast. Many of the Fathers and Doctors of the Catholic Church recommend this as does Sacred Scripture it self. Even various founders of Protestant denominations recommend fasting as does various Orthodox Christian leaders. What I have tried to compile below is a list of various resources and quotations from a variety of Christians which show the importance of fasting in the life of the soul. While this post just touches on the need for fasting and lists a few resources and quotations I hope this will provide you with some information. While I believe that this blog is sort of a pseudo spiritual journal to hopeful lead others to the fullness of Christ's joy and love I think it would not be proper to discuss the details of my fast lest I appear to boast. I will though simply say that I recognize a need for fasting in my spiritual development and will carry that out. I will from time to time report how fasting has benefited my journey with Christ just not the specifics particular to my fast. I would like to point out also that besides the actual fast itself there are additional ways to make little offerings and grow- this was pointed out to me by a Carmelite sister that I trust- and these could be simple acts of charity or giving up television for a day or even part of a day. There are lots of possibilities to make little offerings of love and sacrifice to Our Lord. That needs to be something you come up with on your own and with proper qualified counsel (Priest/ Deacon/Pastor and Medical Doctor for health concerns) and also in accord with your state in life and health. Even something as simple as passing on a favorite soda and choosing a juice instead with prayer and love can reap untold graces. I can only speak for myself and that I know that I need to do certain things in order to grow more fully. I guess I equate this to the sacrifices I made to become a Marine, the sacrifices I made to regain my health or even sacrifices made in order to take a vacation. But, alas, I do not want to focus on me- for that is wrong- but rather try to list a few examples as sources for your further discernment. I know that for myself though it is something I must do to grow further in grace, spiritual strength and in discernment of some important decisions I need to make. I also want to do this for a outpouring of grace for those I pray for, those in my life and for those who will be in my life that Our Lord and Our Lady may guide and protect them always. Please remember me and those in my life as I continue to strive to run the race and fight the good fight towards the goal of Christ Our Lord.
Omnia Pro Iesu Per Mariam!!

There is no more profitable practice as a companion to holy and spiritual fasting than that of almsgiving. This embraces under the single name of mercy many excellent works of devotion, so that the good intentions of all the faithful may be of equal value, even where their means are not. The love that we owe both God and man is always free from any obstacle that would prevent us from having a good intention. The angels sang: Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth. The person who shows love and compassion to those in any kind of affliction is blessed, not only with the virtue of good will but also with the gift of peace. -Saint Leo the Great - Early Church Father

On the other hand, he whose "heart" was habitually found "lifted up" rather than fattened up, who in forty days and as many nights maintained a fast above the power of human nature, while spiritual faith subministered strength (to his body), both saw with his eyes God's glory, and heard with his ears God's voice, and understood with his heart God's law: while He taught him even then (by experience) that man liveth not upon bread alone, but upon every word of God; in that the People, though fatter than he, could not constantly contemplate even Moses himself, fed as he had been upon God, nor his leanness, sated as it had been with His glory! Deservedly, therefore, even while in the flesh, did the Lord show Himself to him, the colleague of His own fasts, no less than to Elijah. For Elijah withal had, by this fact primarily, that he had imprecated a famine, already sufficiently devoted himself to fasts: "The Lord liveth," he said, "before whom I am standing in His sight, if there shall be dew in these years, and rain-shower." –On Fasting BY TERTULLIAN
By and by the Lord Himself consecrated His own baptism (and, in His own, that of all) by fasts; having (the power) to make "loaves out of stones," say, to make Jordan flow with wine perchance, if He had been such a "glutton and toper." Nay, rather, by the virtue of contemning food He was initiating "the new man" into "a severe handling" of "the old," that He might show that (new man) to the devil, again seeking to tempt him by means of food, (to be) too strong for the whole power of hunger.
Thereafter He prescribed to fasts a law--that they are to be performed "without sadness:" for why should what is salutary be sad? He taught likewise that fasts are to be the weapons for battling with the more direful demons: for what wonder if the same operation is the instrument of the iniquitous spirit's egress as of the Holy Spirit's ingress? Finally, granting that upon the centurion Cornelius, even before baptism, the honourable gift of the Holy Spirit, together with the gift of prophecy besides, had hastened to descend, we see that his fasts had been heard, I think, moreover, that the apostle too, in the Second of Corinthians, among his labours, and perils, and hardships, after "hunger and thirst," enumerates "fasts" also "very many" –On Fasting BY TERTULLIAN

The importance of fasting depends on its meaning. Many of the Fathers have written on fasting. Among others, St. Basil has left us with most inspired comments on fasting. St. Basil tells us that fasting is not abstaining from food only; it is first of all, abstaining from sin. Grounded in the teaching of the Fathers, the Church in its hymnology describes fasting as the mother of chastity and prudence, as the accuser of sin and as the advocate of repentance, the life worthy of angels and the salvation of humans (The Lenten Triodion, trans. Kallistos Ware, London 1978, p. 195). Fasting becomes all of these when observed in the proper spirit.
First of all, fasting is abstinence from food. By detaching us from earthly goods and realities, fasting has a liberating effect on us and makes us worthy of the life of the spirit, a life similar to that of angels. Second, fasting, as abstinence from bad habits and sin, is the mother of Christian virtues, the mother of sound and wholesome thinking; it allows us to establish the proper priority between the material and spiritual, giving priority to the spiritual.
Fasting is the advocate of repentance. Adam and Eve disobeyed God; they refused to fast from the forbidden fruit. They became slaves of their own desires. But now through fasting, through obedience to the rules of the Church regarding the use of spiritual and material goods, we may return to the life in Paradise, a life of communion with God. Thus, fasting is a means of salvation, this salvation being a life we live in accordance with the Divine will, in communion with God.
Because of the liberating effect of fasting, both material and spiritual, the Church has connected fasting with the celebration of the major feasts of our tradition. Easter is, of course, our main feast. It is the "feast of feasts." It is the feast of our liberation from the bondage of sin, from corrupted nature, from death. For on that day, through His Resurrection from the dead, Christ has raised us "from death to life, and from earth to heaven" (Resurrection Canon), Christ, "our new Passover," has taken us away from the land of slavery, sin and death, to the promised land of freedom, bliss and glory; from our sinful condition to resurrected life.
excerpt On Fasting by Metropolitan Maximos of the Greek Orthodox Church of America

John Wesley so believed in this power that he urged early Methodists to fast and pray every Wednesday and Friday. He felt so strongly about fasting those two days a week that he refused to ordain anyone in Methodism who wouldn't agree to do it.- Releasing God's Power Through Fasting by Bill Bright

Fasting, which ye have learned to hold three times in the year among us, we decree now to take place, as more suitable, in four seasons; so that even as the year revolves through four seasons, we too may keep a solemn fast quarterly in the four seasons of the year. And as we are replenished with corn, and wine, and oil for the nourishment of our bodies, so let us be replenished with fasting for the nourishment of our souls, in accordance with the word of the prophet Zechariah, who says, "The word of the Lord came to me, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, As I thought to punish you, when your fathers provoked me to wrath, and I repented not; so again have I thought in these days to do well unto Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah: fear ye not.- Excerpt from The letters of Pope CALLISTUS

Below are listed links to some relevant articles on fasting:

Fasting Is Prayer of the Body


Catechesis on Fasting excellent article From Homiletics and Pastoral Review-Provided by DADS.org PLEASE NOTE!! this is a PDF file.

You will need the free Adobe Reader to open this Document the link to Adobe is here and just find the free reader download page.

Great Article in Spirit Daily on the Power of Fasting combined with Prayer in Spiritual Warfare!

On Penance and Abstinence
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