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When you fast?


Fasting and penance should have primacy among your bodily habits.

 

Fasting and penance should have primacy among your bodily habits.

- The Rule of Ciaran (Irish 8th century)

"And when you fast..."

- Matthew 6.16

Fasting and penance deal directly with bodily practices - how we speak, what we do, relationships, the use of our eyes and ears, and so forth. The Apostle Paul commands us to bring our bodily members into submission to our spiritual lives, and fasting and penance are just the tools to help us in this effort.

We'll be dealing with penance in October, so I'll concentrate on fasting today. Note the Lord's instruction: "When" not "If." Jesus took it for granted that His followers would fast. Fasting involves refraining from food or drink for a specified period in order to undertake some spiritual discipline or good work. The time not spent in eating or drinking is devoted instead - over the protests of the body - to nurturing our souls or extending grace to others.

When we fast, therefore, we teach our bodies that they must submit to the spiritual agenda of growth and ministry the Lord has appointed to all His followers. And each time we fast we reinforce this basic outlook on life, strengthen the components of our souls (mind, heart, conscience), and declare the primacy of Kingdom work over bodily satisfaction.

And that's a good thing. So when you fast, make sure it's for a purpose. Don't listen to your body as it pleads for food. Simply remind it that you have other food to eat which it knows not of, and keep on in the work of discipline or ministry the Lord has appointed for your fast.

As a result, not only your soul, but your body as well will glow with the pleasure and bounty of the Lord.

Today in ReVision: How did we miss that? - Does your pastor teach about the environment?

This Week's Download: Soul Friends - Soul friends can help us to make fasting a more regular practice. Got one? Get this free brochure, then get on.

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T. M. Moore, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore

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