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Friday, March 7, 2003

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Sts. Perpetua & Felicity

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

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why fast? love

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

The Lord has revealed to us through the Church and her Scriptures that He gives us a great privilege when He calls us to fast. Fasting is an opportunity of a lifetime for "releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke" (Is 58:6). And this is only the beginning.

Nevertheless, few people are thrilled about the opportunity of fasting forty days with Jesus this Lent. Why have so many not experienced the truth of God's word on fasting and on so many other things? Jesus did not give His disciples the privilege of fasting until they had been with Him as Bridegroom in the covenant love of His marriage feast (Mt 9:15). Jesus did not permit His disciples to fast until He had ascended (see Mt 9:15) and the Holy Spirit had been poured out on His disciples. Then, filled with this love in the Spirit, they were impelled by this love to accept the privilege of fasting (see 2 Cor 5:14).

Most people try not to fast on an empty stomach. For example, the origin of Mardi Gras is that we should be full before we fast in Lent. This may not be true in the matter of food, but it is true in the matter of love. We need to be filled with love before we fast. Then the Lord's wonderful promises regarding fasting will be fulfilled. Love, fast, and see God's glory.

Prayer:  Father, make love "the root and foundation" of my life, Lent, and fasting (Eph 3:17).

Promise:  "Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer, you shall cry for help, and He will say: Here I am!" —Is 58:9

Praise:  St. Perpetua was so absorbed in God's love in the ampitheatre where she was martyred that she refused to believe she had already suffered great injuries until she was shown the marks on her body.

Reference:  (For related teaching, order our leaflet The Secret of Fasting or on audio tape AV 46-1.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, August 1, 2002

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 7, 2002