5 February 2014

Fasting for the friars:

Christ in the Wilderness- Ivan Kramskoy- 1872
Dear friends in Christ,
fasting and prayer are powerful means for those who want to strive for purification, sanctification and reach unity with Jesus. When you fast you are more and more entering the inner silence needed for hearing His voice and telling Him all of your soul's words. And you get assimilated in His passion and you can also help Him in redemption through intercession.
I guess whe should help the friars with our fasting. Will you join me in offering a weekly fasting day - better on friday - for the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate restoration? I invite you to completely skip lunch or dinner in the fasting day and offer this penance to the Holy Trinity through the pure hands of Mary.
I invite you to start this current week and offer fasting until the FFI institute will be restored. AMDG
Here you are some reflections from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI from Message for Lent 2009:
We might ask ourselves what value and meaning there is for us Christians in depriving ourselves of something that in itself is good and useful for our bodily sustenance. The Sacred Scriptures and the entire Christian tradition teach that fasting is a great help to avoid sin and all that leads to it. For this reason, the history of salvation is replete with occasions that invite fasting.... Since all of us are weighed down by sin and its consequences, fasting is proposed to us as an instrument to restore friendship with God.
Jesus brings to light the profound motive for fasting, condemning the attitude of the Pharisees, who scrupulously observed the prescriptions of the law, but whose hearts were far from God. True fasting, as the divine Master repeats elsewhere, is rather to do the will of the Heavenly Father, who “sees in secret, and will reward you” (Mt 6,18). ... The true fast is thus directed to eating the “true food,” which is to do the Father’s will (cf. Jn 4,34).
Fasting represents an important ascetical practice, a spiritual arm to do battle against every possible disordered attachment to ourselves. Freely chosen detachment from the pleasure of food and other material goods helps the disciple of Christ to control the appetites of nature, weakened by original sin, whose negative effects impact the entire human person.
It is good to see how the ultimate goal of fasting is to help each one of us to make a complete gift of self to God. May every family and Christian community use well this time of Lent, therefore, in order to cast aside all that distracts the spirit and grow in whatever nourishes the soul, moving it to love of God and neighbor. I am thinking especially of a greater commitment to prayer, lectio divina, recourse to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and active participation in the Eucharist, especially the Holy Sunday Mass.

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