Our Lady asks us to fast, especially on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Moderators: Andy08, mamamary

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By rising_suns
This is from an article at the following link;
http://www.religious-vocation.com/fasti ... newal.html

Fasting in the Old Testament
The very first commandment of God was, in a sense, to fast; “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die” (Gn 2:16). Pope Benedict quotes from Saint Basil as saying; “fasting was ordained in Paradise”. (Thus we see a certain connection between fasting/indulgence and redemption/original sin. In other words, just as Adam sinned by breaking a fast, so too do we, in a sense, make reparation for his sin by fasting before Holy Communion). Fasting was also regularly practiced by the prophets of the Old Testament as a means to gain favor with God and atone for sin. Upon a close examination of Scripture, we find many key moments in the history of Israel began with a simple formula of prayer and fasting (commentary in blue);

Esther 4:16 "Go, assemble all the Jews…and fast for me; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maidens also will fast in the same way. And thus I will go in to the king." At this moment in history, Jerusalem was on the brink of total annihilation. Yet Esther the queen was able to successfully win the king’s favor and save Jerusalem from extinction. And all this was initiated by three days of fasting.

Nehemiah 1:4 “When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven” Nehemiah laments over the destruction of Jerusalem, and by his fasting and supplication, he obtains favor with God to rebuild the walls of the eternal city. This is a major turning point in the history of Jerusalem.

Exodus 34:28 "So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he did not eat bread or drink water, and he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments." One of the greatest moments in the history of Israel is preceded by a forty day fast.

Joel 2:12 “Yet even now, declares the LORD, return to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, weeping and mourning…Consecrate a fast, proclaim a solemn assembly, gather the people, sanctify the congregation…” Again we see this pattern of fasting being associated with a new beginning; a renewal of Israel.

Tobit 12:8 "Prayer is good with fasting and alms, more than to store up treasures of gold."

Daniel 9:3 “So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes.” Through his fasting and supplication, Daniel received a vision in which the Archangel Gabriel revealed the end of the punishment of Israel--yet another pivotal moment.

1 Kings 21:27 “It came about when Ahab heard these words, that he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and fasted, and he lay in sackcloth and went about despondently. Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, ‘Do you see how Ahab has humbled himself before Me? Because he has humbled himself before Me, I will not bring the evil in his days." After selling himself to evil and worshipping idols, Ahab repents and gains pardon from the Lord through tears and fasting.

1 Samuel 7:6 “They gathered to Mizpah, and drew water and poured it out before the LORD, and fasted on that day” Through prayer and fasting, the Lord delivered Israel from the threat of the Philistines, who had oppressed them for so many years.

Judges 20:26 “Then all the sons of Israel and all the people went up and came to Bethel and wept; thus they remained there before the LORD and fasted that day until evening. And they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.” It wasn't until Israel fasted and gave offerings when their defeats changed to victories. Weeping alone was not enough.

Judith 4:11 "Know ye that the Lord will hear your prayers, if you continue with perseverance in fastings and prayers in the sight of the Lord." Again we see that prayer must be joined with fasting in order to have greater merit in the eyes of God.

2 Chronicles 20:3 “Jehoshaphat was afraid and turned his attention to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.” Once Judah had turned to God through fasting and supplication, God defeated its enemies.

Ezra 8:21 “Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God to seek from Him a safe journey for us, our little ones, and all our possessions.…So we fasted and sought our God concerning this matter, and He listened to our entreaty.” After God had abandoned Israel after many years of sin and idolatry, Ezra obtained pardon and favor from God through fasting and supplication.

Jonah 3:5 "Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them. [...] Do not let man, beast, herd, or flock taste a thing. Do not let them eat or drink water." God relented of His anger, and spared the city of Nineveh after it fasted and repented of its wicked ways.

"you shall not eat of..." The precept not to eat of something is the most common prescription of the Old Testament, and occurs more than eighty times throughout Scripture.
Last edited by rising_suns on Sun Oct 31, 2010 10:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Fasting in the New Testament
The New Testament is also replete with many references to fasting, including those made by Our Lord himself, who evidently intended for this tradition of the Old Law to continue into the New Covenant. This is significant because among the thousands of Old Testament customs, fasting is a rare breed to have been prescribed by Christ Himself. Saint Leo reaffirms; "Those which were figures of future things, have passed away, what they signified being accomplished. But the utility of fasting is not done away with in the New Testament; but it is piously observed, that fasting is always profitable both to the soul and body."

Mark 9:29 "But this kind [of demon] can be cast out in no other way except by prayer and fasting." Just as in the Old Testament, prayer must be joined with fasting in order to have greater efficacy before God.

Matt 6:16 "Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. "But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you."

Matt 4:1 "Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness...And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights..." Pope Benedict comments on this saying; "Like Moses, who fasted before receiving the tablets of the Law (cf. Ex 34,28) and Elijah’s fast before meeting the Lord on Mount Horeb (cf. 1 Kings 19,n8), Jesus, too, through prayer and fasting, prepared Himself for the mission that lay before Him, marked at the start by a serious battle with the tempter."

Matt 9:14 "Then the disciples of John came to Him, asking, 'Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?' And Jesus said to them, 'The attendants of the bridegroom cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast." Here, Our Lord virtually mandates fasting for us until the Bridegroom comes again

Luke 2:38 "She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers. At that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem." We again see this powerful combination of prayer and fasting, which obtained for Anna the singular privilege of recognizing the Messiah in the child.

Phil 3:19 "they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things." Here gluttony is being directly linked as an enemy of Christ.

Acts 13:2 "While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, 'Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.' Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away."

Acts 14:23 "When they had appointed elders for them in every church, having prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed."
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By Andy08
There's a great little book I read in the 80's when I first learned of Medjugorje called, God's Chosen Fast. It's not about Medjugorje. In fact, I doubt the writer ever heard of Medjugorje, but it is an excellent little work. The book talks about the process of fasting and uses biblical quotes that refer to the varied experiences in a fast. It is very good if your have an interest in the biblical teaching on the subject. I'm at work now or I would provide the writer's name. I'll try t remember later to post it if anyone is interested. I've read the book many times over the years. It goes into a lot more biblical depth that say Fr. Slavko's book on fasting.

God Bless,


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