Clarifications On Fasting By Rev. Fr. Josephat Uchechukwu Nwanna CMF

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Pls We fast so as to pray well and break from sin. This is the original teaching.of the Church.about the purpose of fasting. We do not apply the term fasting in speaking about turning away from sin because sin is of the devil and we must break from it. SIN = Satan’s Identification Number. Fasting is sth we do for a time or periodically. If I say “fast from sin” it will mean that after the fast I can resume the sin or that I can keep off from the sin for some time, and then freely indulge in it at other time, just as I resume eating after fasting.

Now because of the flesh our will is weak. The following are noteworthy about the purpose of fasting.
1. Fasting helps to strengthen our will in resisting and overcoming sins.

2. It helps us also to pray better, not weighed down by the tepidity of the flesh.

3. It is also a form of reparation for the punishment do to forgiven sins (a form of (purgation). Regular fasting like once a week is for this reason a spiritually health practice.

4. We also fast so as toappease the justice of God that He May grant His mercy for a.believer who suffers shares in the cross of Christ that he might share also in His glory of new life of grace and heaven (cf 1Cor 4:16-17)

In the sense in which fasting is used during Lent, it includes all prudent moderations to lawful pleasures like TV, food (in taste and quality), talking, etc and the taking up of reasonable disciplines like work, silence (not uncharitable ones) etc. A more general term for this is “Mortification”. So fasting from food is a form of mortification of the flesh. There are are mortification for the five senses of man namely: sight, touch, smell, hearing and taste.

Besides fasting, there is yet a.nobler way of spiritual growth namely the ROSARY with diligent labour in meditation. The distraction or discomfort often experience while struggling with it does not reduce its efficacy. The Rosary itself is of incomparable higher value than fasting. Yet fasting can facilitate it especially where the tepidity due to the flesh is somehow a concern. With reference to how Rosary can compare.with the Rosary, read the extract below, from “Secret of the Rosary” by St Luis Maria de Monfort

In conclusion persistent mortification is necessary for growth in prayer/spiritual life. According to St Josemaria Escriva, “A soul that does not mortify itself.cannot be a prayerful soul”

EXTRACT FROM “SECRET OF THE ROSARY” BY ST LUIS MARIA DE MONFORT

Twenty-eighth Rose

88. St. Augustine assures us that there is no spiritual exercise more fruitful or more useful than the frequent reflection on the sufferings of our Lord. Blessed Albert the Great, who had St. Thomas Aquinas as his student, learned in a revelation that by simply thinking of or meditating on the passion of Jesus Christ, a Christian gains more merit than if he had fasted on bread and water every Friday for a year, or had beaten himself with the discipline once a week till blood flowed, or had recited the whole Book of Psalms every day. If this is so, then how great must be the merit we can gain from the Rosary, which commemorates the whole life and passion of our Lord?

Our Lady one day revealed to Blessed Alan de la Roche that, after the holy sacrifice of the Mass, which is the first and most living memorial of our Lord’s passion, there was indeed no more excellent devotion or one of greater merit than that of the Rosary, which is like a second memorial and representation of the life and passion of Jesus Christ.


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