"Your disciples do not" fast. —Matthew 9:14
Jesus said that when we fast, we should freshen up so no one can see we are fasting (Mt 6:17-18). He meant that we should fast so as to please God, not man.
In one sense, however, people should be able to tell we are fasting no matter how nice our complexion is. Fasting causes drastic changes which are visible to those around us.
- Fasting, along with prayer, is the most effective weapon to bring down the strongholds of the evil one (Gospel of Life, Pope John Paul II, 100).
- Fasting sets free the oppressed, the captive, the depressed, the addicted, and the homeless (Is 58:6-7).
- Our fasting from food causes more of our money to be available to feed and clothe the hungry and poor (Is 58:7).
- Immovable, mountainous problems are overcome by fasting and prayer (Mt 17:21, NAB).
- Fasting is accompanied by humility, selflessness, and a lack of strife with those around us (Is 58:3-4).
In summary, true fasting pierces the clouds and causes our prayers to be heard and answered by God (Is 58:4). True fasting brings undeniable results.
Judge your own fasting by the above Scriptural results of true fasting. Are you fasting in such a way that your world is changing? Could others tell you are fasting simply by observing the life-changing and world-changing power emanating from your life?
Prayer: Father, pour out Your love in our hearts (Rm 5:5) so that we will desire to fast as You wish (Is 58:6) and so change the world.
Promise: "Your vindication shall go before you." —Is 58:8
Praise: Every week, Jacob lights a candle in front of the Our Lady of Lourdes grotto in his church and offers specific intercession for a loved one. Many of the intercessions have already been granted. Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Giles H. Pater, August 18 8, 2004
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 23, 2004