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St. Francis and Fasting

Let my tongue be silenced if I ever forget you! Psalm 137

Today is the feast of St. Francis of Assisi.

In a book entitled The Little Flowers of St. Francis, there is a story about how St. Francis went to an island on the Lake of Perugia and took nothing with him but two little loaves of bread. And he remained there the whole of Lent, without eating or drinking, except the half of one of those little loaves, as was witnessed by his disciple when he returned to him on Holy Thursday, who found, of the two loaves, one entire, and the half of the other. It is believed that St. Francis so refrained from eating out of reverence for the fasting of the blessed Christ, who fasted forty days and forty nights without taking any material food.

To fast for six weeks and only eat a half a loaf of bread? Seems very extreme. Then again, St. Francis was not new to extreme mortification. He was accustomed to an extreme way of living: giving up his wealth, clothes etc to serve God.

We don’t need to be extreme in fasting like St. Francis. God is pleased with any kind of fasting that we do on Wednesdays and Fridays.

If we find fasting too challenging, we can always remember(and fast for) those who are poor and don’t have food. There is nothing like a stomach crying out in hunger pains to remind us that we are choosing to do without food. Millions of people do not choose to fast, but do so because they don’t have enough food.

As always, if you are new to fasting, please check with your doctor before you start any fasting routine.

Today let us take with us the spirit of St. Francis, and let us fast and pray for all those who are perpetually hungry, for the people of the hurricane damaged islands in the Caribbean, for all the community intentions and for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

Holy Mary, pray for us! St. Francis, pray for us! Holy Spirit, teach us to pray!

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