Readings 20150220

The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2015. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com

PULLING A FAST ONE

“Do you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?” —Isaiah 58:5
Fasting is limiting our intake of food in obedience to God for the building of His kingdom. It may involve eating nothing, eating a little less, or eating plainer, less tasty foods. Although the Lord often calls us to cut back significantly in eating, fasting is not a matter of quantity but obedience. For instance, to fast severely when God is calling us to something else is not pleasing to Him.

A Lenten fast is a little different than another fast. The Lenten fast is an intentional imitation of Christ as He fasted forty days in the desert. Thus, the purpose of a Lenten fast is to be united with Christ and to grow in a deep, personal relationship with Him.

On this Friday, the third fast day of Lent, the Church obliges the Catholics of the world to unite by abstaining from meat. This simple expression of unity encourages all of us to persevere in fasting and to fast with our focus on unity — unity with all the Catholics of the world and especially with Jesus. “Would that today you might fast so as to make your voice heard on high!” (Is 58:4)

Prayer: Jesus, may I be in communion with You when I eat Your flesh and drink Your blood (Jn 6:56). May I also receive communion with You and Your people when I fast. Promise: “When the day comes that the Groom is taken away, then they will fast.” —Mt 9:15 Praise: As he fasted, Robert had more prayer distractions, health changes, and interruptions than before. He persevered and grew much closer to Jesus. (For a related teaching, order our leaflet, The Secret of Fasting, or on audio AV 46 -1 or video V-46.)
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from February 1, 2015 through March 31, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 25, 2014.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements

The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net
Are you hungry for God? Hungering for God and fasting for his kingdom go hand in hand. When asked why he and his disciples did not fast Jesus used the vivid picture of a wedding celebration. In Jesus’ time the newly wed celebrated their honeymoon at home for a whole week with all the guests! This was a time of great feasting and celebrating. Jesus points to himself as the bridegroom and his disciples as the bridegroom’s friends. He alludes to the fact that God takes delight in his people as a groom delights in his bride (Isaiah 62:5). To be in God’s presence is pure delight and happiness. But Jesus also reminds his followers that there is a time for fasting and for humbling oneself in preparation for the coming of God’s kingdom and for the return of the Messianic King. The Lord’s disciples must also bear the cross of affliction and purification. For the disciple there is both a time for rejoicing in the Lord’s presence and celebrating his goodness and a time for seeking the Lord with humility, fasting, and mourning for sin. If we hunger for the Lord, he will not disappoint us. His grace draws us to his throne of mercy and favor. Do you seek the Lord with confident trust and allow his Holy Spirit to transform your life with his power and grace?
What kind of fasting is pleasing to God? Fasting can be done for a variety of reasons – to gain freedom from some bad habit, addiction, or vice, to share in the suffering of those who go without, or to grow in our hunger for God and for the things of heaven. Basil the Great wrote: “Take heed that you do not make fasting to consists only in abstinence from meats. True fasting is to refrain from vice. Shred to pieces all your unjust contracts. Pardon your neighbors. Forgive them their trespasses.” Do you hunger to know God more, to grow in his holiness, and to live the abundant life of grace he offers you?

“Come Lord, work upon us, set us on fire and clasp us close, be fragrant to us, draw us to your loveliness, let us love, let us run to you.” (Prayer of St. Augustine)

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