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Monday, March 4, 2013

The Power of Fasting

Which one is more powerful? Fasting or prayer? According to my priest friend, fasting and prayer are for today! In fact, now more than ever! But how come fasting seemed to be ignored nowadays? Today let's talk about the power of Fasting.

Fasting is powerful because when we fast we are detaching ourselves from the world. This allows us to transcend the enemy, who is the prince of the kingdoms of the world. He once offered those kingdoms to Jesus and of course Jesus in His might and girded by fasting refused. We see that even Christ saw the need to fast before He set forth to conquer His foe. In detaching from the flesh we rise above earthly spirits. That's why Scripture tells us there are certain spirits that are cast off only through fasting (Matthew 17:21). There is tremendous power in fasting. There is spiritual protection. There is healing. There is discernment. We are less deceived when we fast; the spiritual landscape clarifies. This is why the Blessed Virgin, through history, and especially now, has constantly urged fasting. In our time there is danger without it -- for those who can, bread and water, or just juice, or absent something very major, for those who are infirm or elderly: a fast on something one particularly likes whether a certain food or television, something that is significant, something we are very attached to and like. Lent is an opportunity to break over-attachment. We see in our time the many ways evil has cause sickness because it has not been challenged through fasting, which also purifies our bodies (and even causes our bodies to consume sickly cells). "Renounce all passions and all inordinate desires," the Virgin once said. "Avoid television, particularly evil programs, excessive sports, the unreasonable enjoyment of food and drink, alcohol, tobacco." With fasting, we find it easier to see the essential things of life, a well-known and very holy priest named Father Slavko Barbaric once said. "Therefore, fasting is so important. In making us interiorly free, fasting makes it easier for us to move towards God." Many have fear because they are not fasting. Fasting removes fear. When we find ourselves in a difficult situation it is often because we have not fasted even though fasting is nearly as important as prayer.

The church is not advocating prolonged periods of fasting for every believer. A fast can be as short as one meal. Neither do I advocate fasting for the mere sake of saying with self-righteousness, "I have fasted and prayed about this." I do not advocate fasting so that the hungry in a foreign nation might have the food you would have eaten that day -- which is highly unlikely. I do not advocate fasting apart from prayer. With fasting and faith anything and everything is possible (Matthew 17:20). "The best fast is on bread and water," the Virgin said in one of her most remarkable messages. "Through fasting and prayer one can stop wars, one can suspend the laws of nature." 

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