Today’s Gospel: Mark 2:18-22 – St. Agnes
Why do your disciples not fast? In this passage, the followers of John the Baptist and the Pharisees come up to Jesus in what appears to be accusatory tones to find out why his disciples aren’t adhering to this important spiritual discipline.
Jesus’ answer? They will fast. But right now, it is time to feast. When he, the bridegroom, is gone, then the time for His disciples to fast will come.
He is gone. We are His disciples. But are we fasting? Those of us who live in the land of plenty: do we fast from anything? We can get immediate answers to our questions by asking a virtual assistant; we can stream any movie the minute we want it; we can eat blueberries out of season; we can insert our opinion into any discussion via likes, emojis, and comments.
Why do we fast? It’s a question worth asking. I have been fasting from dinner-to-dinner most days since July. I have discovered what is, I’m sure, just the beginning of the many answers to that question. I fast to mortify my physical desires. How can it be good for my soul to satisfy every appetite of ego and body? I fast to pray. Each day’s fast, Monday through Friday, is assigned to a particular person in my life who is in need of intercessory prayer. I fast to remind myself that God is my only true sustenance, my only true need. And to be honest, I fast for healing. I fast because my body needs a chance to rid itself of the extra energy stores it has stashed.
Fasting can take the form of fasting from food, such as described above, but it can also be fasting from certain conveniences, fasting from technology, fasting from idle speaking, or fasting from satisfying one’s curiosity.
Do I satisfy every whim of physical and emotional appetite? How can I observe Friday as a day of penance?
Grant me the grace, oh my God, to love you above everything else. Teach me what is good, true, and beautiful and give me the grace, I pray, to detach from worldly passions and appetites.
Copyright 2019 Amanda Woodiel
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