The Power of Fasting

Why does the Church ask us to fast?


Jesus said “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Mt 16:24).

St Paul says a bit more forcibly in his letter to the Colossians, “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you” (Col 3:5).

We can become so attached to created and materials things and the pleasures that they hold, that in time we prefer the earthly to the spiritual. Lent reminds us and gives us the opportunity to re-address this and re-order the disordered appetites and inclinations of our lives. We need to discipline our bodies and give them less than they desire.

When we deny ourselves, we detach ourselves from that which we have inordinately tied ourselves to. This helps us to live independently of material things and creates more room for God and for what he has created us for. It also helps us to become free from the need to want more and more, seeing the illusions of this world and understanding the deeper truths of God, ourselves and what it means to live in the freedom that Christ won for us through his death and resurrection. We will all face death someday. Will we face it as a gain or a loss, in joy or in misery. Now that depends on how we live now and how attached we are to the earthly or the spiritual.

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