Fasting is Tough! That’s the Point, Isn’t It?

When meditating upon the readings of the day, I was intrigued by the whole scene.  In the first reading, Moses spoke with the Lord face to face.  He praised God, and pleaded for the Israelites.  Then he went off for forty days and nights to be alone with the Lord.  During that time he did not eat OR DRINK.

Of course, he was in the presence of the Almighty, so it’s no wonder that Moses sustained the impossible.  In the New Testament, Jesus went out to the desert to fast and pray just before He began His ministry.  There he was tempted by the devil.

I have heard that fasting is something “prescribed,” so to speak, biblically – more for our own sake than for God.  Denying the body is said to build strength of will, strength of character – helping us to avoid other temptations (besides food) as well.

In “Words From Heaven,” messages that Mary gave the visionaries at Medjugorje are detailed.  From this book, I learned that Mother Mary requests that we fast on Wednesdays and Fridays each week.  I’ve tried, but I’m horrible at it!  I wind up feeling more sinful when I fail than before I tried.  When it comes to food, I’m shamefully undisciplined.  I feel terrible about that.  I know that there are many people in the world who do not have all of the food choices we have here.  They literally eat to live.  Here in New Orleans, we have a reputation as a people who live to eat.  I try not to be!

Fasting is mentioned several times in the bible and in the lives of the great saints – always coupled with prayer.  There must be some great spiritual wisdom to that combination.  I’ve decided that I may have to start small – by giving up one thing on Wednesdays and Fridays instead of trying to do a strict fast.  Giving up music in the car, or dessert would still be a sacrifice, but is that enough?

Have any of you practiced fasting as a part of your prayer life?  If so, how it has benefitted you spiritually?

About danardoyle

I am a Catholic, working wife and mother. I have three children ages 10, 16 and 23. I am extremely busy, as you can imagine. I aim each and every day to put God first in my life, to teach my children the Faith, to be a supportive spouse, keep the house in order, and do my job outside of the home well, too. That's an impossible task - without Divine intervention! Here, I hope to share my triumphs and struggles with other working moms in the same boat. I will share the tools I have discovered to making it all work - most days!
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9 Responses to Fasting is Tough! That’s the Point, Isn’t It?

  1. Sue Elvis says:

    I am a terrible faster too, Dana. I even find the Ash Wednesday and Good Friday fasts difficult. Starting small sounds good. St John Vianney fasted from food and sleep. I think sleep would be hard as well. Once during Lent a priest suggested we fast from something other than food eg fasting from making critical comments or bickering can be very beneficial. Sometimes our reasons for fasting can be mixed. If we are successful we can feel self-satisfied and there is always that personal side benefit, losing some weight! So I am no help whatsoever, Dana. Let me know how you get on.

    • danardoyle says:

      You know, you’re right! When I try to fast, I do find myself wanting to step on the scale. Not a good motive! I will continue to try as I start the school year. Maybe the routine there will help with my being more disciplined. You know, I never thought of the fact that God might not want me to be 100% successful, because then I might feel proud of myself. Hmmm.

      • Sue Elvis says:

        Dana, I wonder if we could offer up our littleness in a St Therese way: Lord, I’d like to fast for You but You know I am so weak and can do so little. Perhaps starting with those little extras like dessert rather than heading for the bread and water diet is enough. What do you think? Perhaps I am just trying to take the easy way. I don’t know.

  2. Arafea says:

    Yes. I’ve found that throughout the day when I encounter the item I’m fasting from, it helps to offer up a prayer for a specific intention- then I have the strength to continue because I am doing it for someone else. It helps encourage constant prayer! Thanks for the honesty of this post!

  3. littlesoul2 says:

    Hi Dana. I too have much trouble with fasting — I get terrible headaches as well as shakiness etc. from low blood sugar. What I do instead is give up all sweets and snacks on Fridays, as well as abstain from meat, and on Wednesdays, I eat no sweets — but might still have some chips or something like that. I find just this little bit of discipline to be helpful, cause I’m mostly very undisciplined.

    On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, since I can’t observe the strict fast for health reasons, I fast from something else I really enjoy — like listening to Catholic radio. I wish I could fast from food, as it would be nice to lose a few pounds. But when you don’t eat big meals anyway, it’s hard to give up much food, except for the snacks and desserts.

    Thanks for bringing this up. I need to try to find a few other things in my life which I can fast from.

    • danardoyle says:

      You sound a lot like me. I eat small amounts every couple of hours to keep from getting the shakes, too. I can give up sweets or music though. I love those!

  4. I really don’t have a problem with fasting. I don’t know why.

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