Fasting crucifies the earthly passions, and prayer gives you the grace you need to be able to fast…

Matthew 4:3 The tempter came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.’

“My beloved, the tempter knows your weakness and waits for the perfect opportunity to tempt you. He will use your earthly passions against you. That is why you must fast and pray. Fasting crucifies the earthly passions, and prayer gives you the grace you need to be able to fast, and fast well. There is a form of fasting the feeds the pride. This form is abhorrent to me and has the opposite effect than the one fasting had hoped for. Let your fasting be first of all from pride. When you fast, do not consider how well you have done or how poorly, but in all humility give me whatever you can, and do not calculate the merit of it. You will be very surprised at the end of your life at what was credited to you as merit. Be completely detached from all results. Be humble, be faithful, and give everything to me. Children, the tempter has no power over a humble soul, for that soul carries the odor of Jesus and Mary; he cannot come near. Be little and be grateful for all you have been given. All is gift, dear children. Return it all to me and be at peace. Shalom.”

Beloved Father of my heart, I give you glory and praise your name for all your many gifts to this unworthy sinner. Help me to see my own nothingness and to give back to you all you have given to me. O beloved Father, Abba, I love you! Amen.

 

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23 thoughts on “Fasting crucifies the earthly passions, and prayer gives you the grace you need to be able to fast…

    1. Charles, I think that fasting from food helps us with all our troublesome desires of the flesh. Pray about what God is calling you to fast and let peace be your indicator. Remember that for most of us “in the world” fasting should not interfere with your daily duty, and should be invisible to others as much as is possible. Sometimes for the sake of the other person we set our fasting aside momentarily. For instance yesterday I was fasting, but my husband made me lunch, so I set aside my fasting out of gratitude for his gift.

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  1. “There is a form of fasting that feeds the pride…abhorrent to me…” peli can you expound further on this? Obviously those who lord it over others with their piety, or make sure everyone knows when they are fasting perhaps, but anything else you could share?

    Also, although many talk of fasting, I rarely read anything about how TO fast, or how to begin a meaningful fasting habit. The idea of fasting from pride is something we can all do, or attempt to do, each day, but I find myself bouncing around a lot when I try to focus on fasting from food.

    As one ages, the pleasures from food are some of the most easily accessible, especially in our current culture, and I can see that fasting would have real value. I’m just not sure how to start, beyond following the Lenten requirements. It’d be great to hear from others about their fasting habits and any suggestions how best to incorporate meaningful fasting into one’s busy family life.

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    1. Margaret we must also beware of any self-satisfaction in our fasting. Do not left your left hand know what your right hand is doing.

      Any fasting habit must begin with prayer. In formation for the penitential group I belong to, http://www.bspenance.org, we spend a year on prayer before we begin with fasting. Doesn’t mean we can’t fast before that year is up, but that the grace we need must be prayed for.

      There are as many forms of fasting as there are things to give up! In the BSP, because we fast quite a bit we follow the Church’s method of fasting: one regular meal with two smaller meals that together do not add up to one meal, and no snacking. Beverages, milk and juice may be taken any time. It is not rigorous, but it is invisible to most people, and seems small enough to us that we are in less danger of pride or self-satisfaction.

      Occasionally one can fast on bread and water (as much as is needed). I’m told Our Lady told the seers at Medjugorje that she prefers this fast, and has asked for fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays.

      My advice is to pray a novena for guidance and start small. Fasting on Fridays (or Wednesdays and Fridays) throughout the year, except on solemnities is one idea. Let your guardian angel guide you. And as I said to Charles, whatever you fast from should not make you unable to carry out your daily duties.

      I’d be happy to hear from others on their preferred way of fasting.

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  2. I do try to follow the fasting of our Blessed Mother suggestion to the Medjugorje Seers. I will say I feel that I fail to the standards that I set for myself. It is good to here this
    (“When you fast, do not consider how well you have done or how poorly, but in all humility give me whatever you can, and do not calculate the merit of it.”).
    I do get on my self for not doing good. So this will remind me to bend to my knees and thank the Blessed Mother for helping me do what I tried to do or did with my fasting that day and for any merits that come from it for what I am fasting for. I think humbly yourself is the hardest part and knowing God blesses you when you give it gallant try.

    Thank you Peli for this and knowing other people are fasting and trying to do the best they can.
    Challoner Douay Rheims Matthew 4.3 – 4.4
    And the tempter coming said to him: If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
    Who answered and said: It is written, Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God.

    Just keep on trying,
    Shane

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  3. “…and do not calculate the merit of it”. This is a huge help to me. 🤗 My greatest concern is my pride. Fasting and wondering if it was good enough or not. No more! Now I will just do it and give it to our Holy Mama. Done!

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  4. Years ago when I was younger I fasted on bread/honey and coffee( my bread & water substitute) on Wednesdays & Fridays as Our Lady had asked at Medjugorje, now I find that too hard. So on Wednesdays & Fridays now I go without butter on my toast and no snacks unless I have visitors for morning tea. It is such a little thing but every Wednesday & Friday when I wake up I think “oh no, I can’t have butter today.” So the sacrifice is there even when it is very small.

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  5. Amen amen amen! May our Good and Gentle Lord continue to work on our humility that we may know and profess that all that we have is gift and not created by us.

    JESUS I Trust in You! Help my lack of Trust…

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  6. Fasting…what a way to “amp up” and magnify our prayers, while God works inside us to make us “smaller” and more malleable. For three years, I have been discreetly fasting on Fridays for my family’s conversion (husband, 3 sons, daughter-in-law). I do a “Daniel” fast of vegetables. Hot decaf or herbal teas or similar beverages, no breakfast, no lunch, just a handful of raw veggies and maybe a few nuts spread out through the day. This year’s Lenten Mercy Challenge is different, I take a piece of gluten-free bread (I’m allergic to wheat) plus my glass of water and decade of Rosary at lunch…it’s actually more filling than my “regular” Friday fast!

    I AM hungry, but blessed with an sedentary office job on Fridays, so as hunger gnaws at me, I offer it up as prayer for their conversions. Then when I get home, I fix a regular meal. I have been eating Whole Food Plant Based for a year now, so the whole Lenten abstinence requirement is irrelevant now as I don’t eat meat, fish or dairy for health reasons (my cholesterol dropped 60 points, praise God!).

    Several years ago in prayer, I sensed the Lord telling me “the bowls are filling up” as I prayed for my family. Last fall, I sensed His encouragement that “the bowls are full”….so I praise the Lord for this gift of fasting and am joyfully waiting to see what He does with my loved ones. I am also currently fasting from my evening treat of nuts and some dark chocolate on behalf of my brother’s efforts to reverse his recently diagnosed Type II diabetes with diet and lifestyle change. Now THAT’s a tough one…when I crave that sweet crunchy treat, it reminds me to pray again for my brother’s “diabetes conversion” and go eat some fruit or frozen berries.

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    1. Thanks hopenjoy! “Bowls are filling up” reminds me of something I recently heard from Luisa’s diary. Jesus told her that there is a set number or prayers needed for every intention. We need to keep on knocking and not be discouraged. Even if the answer is no, we trust that the fruit of the no will exceed the fruit of a yes. May God be praised in all things!

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      1. Oh my, Janet – could you give me that reference about the “set number of prayers needed for every intention”? In my spirit, I had somehow discerned this over the years…when trying not to be discouraged at an apparent lack of results from prayers…I had gotten the impression that some intentions would just take a lot of prayers…so by adding fasting to this, it must be helping or aiding in some manner? And I always ask Mama Mary to take my feeble prayers, clean them up and bring them to her Son, who will take them in the power of the Holy Spirit to the Father. I have noticed that in recent weeks, I am praying more throughout the day in my prayer language (tongues) and am seeing some more rapid YES responses to prayers, things are changing in the spiritual world in many ways. And yes, seeing some small little encouraging changes within my family.

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      2. My friend who told me about this can’t find the exact reference. She has been listening to Fr. Robert Young quite a bit on Radio Maria, so it is difficult to remember exactly which podcast contained that particular teaching. But this is how she remembers it: “Jesus knows exactly how many times he wants to hear your request before He is, as it were ‘constrained’ to give it to you, therefore each intermediate asking is as important as the last (for it fills up the number required).”

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      3. Thats just what I needed to hear Peli. Thanks. I was wondering while at mass this morning why some prayers don’t seem to be answered, even the ones I end with “if it is your will, just let me know if it isn’t and I will stop praying for this”. Never for material things though.
        So just keep the faith.

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  7. Some amazing suggestions and comments here. I am convinced that fasting is so important to accompany our prayers for all serious intentions. I recommend John Piper’s online book on fasting: http://cdn.desiringgod.org/pdf/books_hfg/hfg_all.pdf
    A HUNGER FOR GOD
    A sample quotation:
    “The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie.
    It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for
    heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the world. It is not
    the X-rated video, but the prime-time dribble of triviality we
    drink in every night. For all the ill that Satan can do, when God
    describes what keeps us from the banquet table of his love, it is
    a piece of land, a yoke of oxen, and a wife (Luke 14:18-20). The
    greatest adversary of love to God is not his enemies but his gifts.
    And the most deadly appetites are not for the poison of evil, but
    for the simple pleasures of earth. For when these replace an
    appetite for God himself, the idolatry is scarcely recognizable,
    and almost incurable.”
    From this paragraph you can see that fasting can be from food, tv, other pleasures of triviality—anything which “dulls our appetite for heaven.”

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  8. Wow Kathy, that is an amazing quote! Thank you for sending the link. Praise God! I see the author is a Baptist. No imprimatur, but certainly God speaks to us through faithful souls of all stripes. Your recommendation is enough. 🙂

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  9. Peli’s comment to KAE prompted this memory:
    A statement I heard from a Methodist minister 50 years ago that stuck and has helped throughout my life, “The surest path to hell is paved with good intentions…” ( hearing the Spirit’s inspiration and not acting)

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  10. This thread is very interesting. I had never heard of a need for a certain number of prayers required for one or another intention.

    I had prayed for some years for what I thought was an important intention.
    I believe it can no longer be fulfilled as an earthly blessing now.
    But because I had used the Novena to Jesus. In it we say 10 times after each daily petition. Oh Jesus, I surrender myself to You, take care of everything. Well the Novena gave me such relief like a load lifted off my shoulders. I still pray for the person involved; but believed it would be rude to ask Jesus over and over again once it is surrendered to Him. I wonder if I did it wrong.

    I wonder…….. Jesus, I trust in Thee still.

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  11. In the topic about fasting.

    I remember reading years ago that the first fast is abstaining from the clenched fist and the sharp tongue.

    Charity in thought, word and deed needs loads of practice for me.

    I used to be able to fast after working on the discipline when younger. I loved it when I read that when we fail, offer the failure to Jesus. It truly did work for me. And I hope it was not pride disguised as pure joy in my frequent failures, when I offered the failure with thanks for a Lord Who has taught us His love is greater than our failures. Jesus, I trust in Thee.

    I do the tiniest little fast that no one would ever think of these days. I whisper to God, this is my tiny little gift out of love for You. And hope He is happy.

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