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Friday, February 14, 1997

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Sts. Cyril & Methodius
St. Valentine

Isaiah 58:1-9
Psalm 51
Matthew 9:14-15

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pulling a fast one

"Do you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?" —Isaiah 58:5

Fasting is limiting our intake of food in obedience to God for the building of His kingdom. It may involve eating nothing, eating a little less, or eating plainer, less tasty foods. Although the Lord often calls us to cut back significantly in eating, fasting is not a matter of quantity but obedience. For instance, to fast severely when God is calling us to something else is not pleasing to Him.

A Lenten fast is a little different than another fast. The Lenten fast is an intentional imitation of Christ as He fasted forty days in the desert. Thus, the purpose of a Lenten fast is to be united with Christ and to grow in a deep, personal relationship with Him.

On this Friday, the third fast day of Lent, the Church obliges the Catholics of the world to unite by abstaining from meat. This simple expression of unity encourages all of us to persevere in fasting and to fast with our focus on unity — unity with all the Catholics of the world and especially with Jesus. "Would that today you might fast so as to make your voice heard on high!" (Is 58:4)

Prayer:  Jesus, may I be in communion with You when I eat Your flesh and drink Your blood (Jn 6:56). May I also receive communion with You and Your people when I fast.

Promise:  "When the day comes that the Groom is taken away, then they will fast." —Mt 9:15

Praise:  Cyril and Methodius learned the language and invented an alphabet to bring the good news to Moravia.

Reference:  (For more teaching on this subject, order our leaflet, The Secret of Fasting.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, August 1, 1996

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 6, 1996