Friday, February 12, 2016

Why Do We Fast ? (1 of 3)

Every year Lent comes around and we give something up. But why? To lose weight? To test our will power? What’s the real reason that we fast? There are several good ways to answer this question. I’d like to examine Jesus’ responses to the devil during his own fast. Each of his three answers to Satan’s three temptations reveals to us something of the purpose of fasting.

Juan de Flandes, Temptation of Christ (Franciscan Devil??)

“If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” “It is written, ‘Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word which comes forth from the mouth of God.”

We fast to remind us of our need for God. When we are hungry, we experience our weakness. Deprived of a little food, we start to feel faint and tired, or perhaps grumpy. We start to discover that we’re not all we thought we were. We remember that we are frail creatures dependent on God for everything, even our next breath.

The point of fasting is to bring us from our hunger for food and to a hunger for God’s Word. We experience our need for food, but the Lord reminds us that, as much as we need food, we need the Word of the Father even more. We live not by bread alone, but by every word which comes forth from the mouth of God. Of course, there is only one Word which comes from the mouth of the Father, and that is Jesus, the Word Made Flesh, whom we receive in the Eucharist. May we long for this Bread of Angels more than we long for earthly food!

+ Br. Ignatius Pio Mariae, CFR
Comayagua, Honduras
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