Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Thoughts on fasting

Fr Ray has a short but excellent post on the true purpose of fasting. About time someone reminded Cafod. I am not going to criticise anyone, but if a 'Catholic' charity forgets about why one should fast during Lent, then they are sending out the wrong message, and risk a good opportunity for their spiritual lives. We Catholics need to remember that our vocation is to know, love, and serve God in this life. If fasting can aid us in this respect, then all the better, but we should do so as penance for our sins. And as I am sure you know, our Blessed Lord has some good things to say about it:

And when you fast, be not as the hypocrites, sad. For they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Amen I say to you, they have received their reward. But thou, when thou fastest anoint thy head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not to men to fast, but to thy Father who is in secret: and thy Father who seeth in secret, will repay thee.

Matthew 6:16


Anonymous said...

Great link, Emitte, thanks. Still so much to learn.

Is that to be taken literally that those who're undergoing marital problems shouldn't fast? Realise that may sound a silly question, but... well, there it is.

Emitte said...

Not having any experience of marriage, I can't really say. Certainly as Fr Ray points out, fasting can make one stressed, and so this is hardly an ideal practise alongside any problem (especially a marital problem). It should be remembered that many of the great saints and founders of religious orders were very practical people. St Teresa of Avila I am told, once noticed how some nuns in her order were getting rather impatient as a result of over-zealous mortification, and so ordered them to get an extra hour of sleep. Likewise, St Ignatius Loyola was unlikely to let any of his disciples fast if they were in poor health. Above all, if any form of mortification is not bearing fruit in one's spiritual life, one should consult one's Confessor in order to decide whether or not to retain the practise.