“Pursue righteousness, devotion,
faith, love, patience, and gentleness.
Compete well for the faith.
Lay hold of eternal life,
to which you were called when you made the noble confession
in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Tim: 6
Eternal life/heaven is the goal of Christians. When we try to be the best that we can be, when we are practicing virtue and pursuing righteousness, it is easier to reach that goal. And Scripture is clear that fasting can assist us in the process.
As mentioned last week, when we fast, our entire body can be a prayer. Prayer, together with fasting, can be a powerful weapon against the evil one.
In North America and most developed parts of the world, eating has become a want and not necessarily a need. We all “need” to eat food and drink water in order to live and survive. But much of our society’s eating has become a habit of reaching for food every time we feel an urge to do so.
Unfortunately, our society has become tolerant of vice. Selfishness, lust, greed and impatience are not discouraged; many of these vices lead to more serious sins. Addictions are at an all-time high.
This is why fasting is so important with regard to “calming the passions.” Fr. Slavko Barbaric said, “All other virtues become possible through fasting, especially the virtue of chastity.”
Allowing our stomachs to become empty and feeling the hunger pangs is a good spiritual practice. Eating slowly, then not eating for hours is a holy practice when combined with prayer.
Fasting for others can also help us to grow in selflessness and virtue.
Is fasting easy? Of course not. Do we always fast perfectly? No. But anything worthwhile, especially anything spiritually worthwhile, is going to be difficult and challenging. Scripture tells us that Satan tempted Jesus in the desert. So you can also be sure that Satan will be tempting us not to fast and pray. Ask for help from your guardian angel, the Blessed Mother, the saints and Jesus. They want to help us; they want us to succeed.
Today when we pray and fast, let us remember all the community intentions and especially those struggling with sexual sin and pornography addiction.
Holy Mary, pray for us! Holy Spirit, teach us to pray!