Friday, March 11, 2011
March 11, 2011: Friday of Lent
This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; Setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; Sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; Clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own. (Isaiah 58:1-9)
from Fasting, by Fr. Slavko Barbaric
Through fasting, our hearts become more pure. We see reality in a better way. We find it easier to see what we have, what we need and what we don't need. We become free from the inner pressure of wanting and needing to have more and at the same time forgetting what we have already. Everything is relative in life. That means, things are not as important as we think sometimes. We live in a situation of believing that material things are very important. We forget the dimension of being pilgrims in this world. There are many people who would be happy if they had a roof over their heads and just a little bit of bread every day. And how much happier would they be if they had as much as we have. And yet, we often are unhappy and not content, although we have so much. The reason for the discontent lies in the fact that we don't see the essential anymore. We have become blind to the essential. Therefore, we are convinced that we need to have many things. With fasting, we find it easier to see the essential things of life. Therefore, fasting is so important. In making us interiorly free, fastng makes it easier for us to move towards God and towards people.
FASTING IS THE PRAYER OF THE ENTIRE BODY
Fasting is the prayer of the entire body. In prayer we attach ourselves to God, and by fasting we detach ourselves from the things that tie us to the world. We find it easier to pray when we fast, and we fast better when we pray. Prayer will increase in quality when combined with fasting. Fasting can greatly amplify the power of prayer, even to working the miraculous. Fasting also helps us to realize our spiritual emptiness and need. We come to know and experience our dependency on God and not on the things of the world. The entire purpose of fasting is to reinforce the spirit and put it in control of the flesh. As a result, fasting along with prayer deepens our relationship with God and neighbor. It makes us more receptive to the Word of God and to the Eucharist. Good works and peace are the fruits of prayer and fasting.
Loving Father, today I have decided to fast. I can remember that your prophets of old fasted, that Jesus Our Lord fasted, as did His disciples. The Blessed Virgin also fasted and has called me as well. Eternal Father, I offer this day of fasting to You. May it draw me closer to You, teach me Your ways, and open my eyes to see Your many gifts. May love for You and for my neighbor fill my heart to overflowing.
Lord, may this fast help me to grow in understanding the hungry, the deprived, the poor. Let me see my possessions as gifts for the journey meant to be shared. Grant also to me the grace of humility and the strength to do Your will.
Lord, may this fast cleanse me of bad habits, calm my passions, and increase Your virtues within me. And my You, Mother Mary, obtain for me the grace of a joyful fast, that my heart may sing with You a song of thanksgiving. I place my decision to fast firmly in Your hands. Teach me through fasting to be more and more like Your Son, Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit. Amen. (Fr. Slavko Barbaric)