Thursday, February 18, 2016

Why Do We Fast? (3 of 3)

“All these I shall give to you, if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.” At this Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! It is written ‘The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve’”

Ultimately, we fast to cast out the idols from our hearts. We all have idols which, at least at times, take the place of God in our hearts. These idols are things which we desire more than God, at least in certain moments, and which lead us to sin. They are many and various, but the three big categories are: power, honor, and pleasure. These are exactly what Satan offers Jesus in this temptation, showing us that to worship them is to worship the devil.

When we fast, we give up things which are good in themselves (and thus not sinful), but which are merely finite, earthly goods. We give them up not because they’re bad nor even because they could become bad or lead us to sin, but because they are not the Supreme Good for which we long. We leave them behind so as to run full speed ahead toward the true desire of our hearts: God, by whom and for whom we were made. We fast because we don’t want to be weighed down by lesser things as we climb the heights of God’s love. We give up the world so as to more easily gain heaven.

Thus, in the end, fasting is an act of worship. When we fast we declare that there is one Lord and that we worship him alone. He is the Source and Summit of our life and it is only in his Will, in his Love, that we are free.

+ Br. Ignatius Pio Mariae, CFR
Comayagua, Honduras
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