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The disciples of John approached Jesus and said, "Why do we and the Pharisees fast much but your disciples do not fast?" Jesus answered them, "Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast."
As I mentioned yesterday, whatever we do during Lent, it is absolutely necessary that it be done with all our heart and with great humility and sacrifice. Fasting is a useful tool in the war against ourselves.
This morning, I read a wonderful poem written by an outstanding Catholic writer and apologetic, Hilaire Belloc, entitled The Vulture.
The Vulture eats between his meals,
And that's the reason why He very, very rarely feels
As well as you or I.
His eye is dull, his head is bald,
His neck is growing thinner.
Oh, what a lesson for us all
To only eat at dinner.
Not so fast. Fasting has very little to do with food. It's all about taking control: self-control through self-denial. It means taking back our bodies from our chemistries. It's all about mind over body; spirit over mind; God above man.
Contrary to public opinion, we cannot do whatever we want. It's unfortunate, but it's true. Imagine for a moment allowing your children to eat whatever they want to eat or do whatever they want to do. They would sleep as long as they could; play for as long as they could; eat whatever they could; and study the least they could. I fear that many would die at an early age!!!
Food fasting is to the body what weight lifting is to the muscle: Before a thing can grow, it must first get ripped. Food fasting allows us to rip our bodies from worldly desires and/or sinful dependencies and reattach them to what is good and wholesome.
It's amazing how body fasting can fashion the mind and help people walk away not only from food, but also from the Internet, from porn; from an exuberant amount of shopping; from soap operas and strip joints to Facebook and twitter!
It's exciting how something so cheap and so easy can be so efficient and effective. Fasting may be a bit painful to the body and mind, but boy what a feeling it is to the soul! It's a wonderful feeling to get your body back under the dominion of your heart and soul..."under God, indivisible, with unity and justice for all."
Take the pledge!
Of course, fasting is all about seeking what is truly good, beautiful and true. It's all about getting the mind and body to seek the one true, good and beautiful God. Christ is our true food.
There will come a day when we will no longer need to fast, but it won't be at the end of these forty days. Not so fast! (pun intended).
The time will come when the Lord welcomes us to his banquet. It will be there, and only then, when the marriage feast lasts for all eternity.
In the meantime, we need a good food fight!