"Do you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord? This, rather, is the fasting that I wish." —Isaiah 58:5-6
Lent means imitating Jesus when He fasted forty days in the desert. It's difficult for us to imitate anyone because we want to do our own thing. We would have to die to self to imitate Christ. It's also difficult for us to imitate Jesus' forty-day fast because we like to eat. Even if we do imitate Jesus exteriorly by fasting in some way for the forty days of Lent, we still may not be imitating His interior spirit. When Jesus fasted for forty days, He resisted Satan's temptations to doubt His identity as the beloved Son of God (Lk 4:3, 9). We must imitate not only Jesus' fasting but also His assurance concerning His relationship with the Father and His victory over Satan.
When we fast, we should not try to get the Lord to look at us. "Why do we fast, and You do not see it? afflict ourselves, and You take no note of it?" (Is 58:3) We should be looking intently at Him, to imitate Him exactly. When we have such humility and love that we want to imitate Jesus to a "T," then our voice will be "heard on high" (Is 58:4). When our Father sees in us such a good imitation of Jesus, He is well pleased and His favor rests on us (see Lk 3:22). When we imitate Jesus, we pray and fast in Jesus' name, and thus all that we ask the Father in Jesus' name, He will give us (Jn 15:16).
Prayer: Father, help me act and look like Jesus, the "exact Representation" of You (Heb 1:3).
Promise: "Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your wound shall quickly be healed." —Is 58:8
Praise: Fr. Mike, in imitation of Jesus, fasts frequently for his parishioners.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our leaflet The Secret of Fasting or our audio tape AV 46-1 or video V-46.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 11, 2008
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