Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Fasting by Bro. Ignatius Mary

How to Think Properly About Fasting by Bro. Ignatius Mary
Now what about devotional fasts? What if we do feel called to perform some devotional fast?

The devotional fast called for by our Lady—the bread and water fast on Wednesdays and Fridays—is also purely voluntary in nature. If one feels called to do it, then one should do it, as long as it is remembered that this fast, and all other devotional fasts, are purely voluntary and thus is not required to be a good Catholic.

Since we in this country are not use to going without, it is also suggested that we not beat ourselves up if we canot live up to such dramatic fasts and bread and water. For those interested in the more severe fasts it is suggested that one start with a less severe fast and work their way up to the more severe forms (see the note about St. Benedict at the end of this essay).

For example, since the definition of a fast according to the Church is one full meal in the day plus, if one needs, two snacks not to equal the amount of a full meal, and no snacking in between, one could start by doing this sort of fast on Wednesday and Friday. And then work up to one meal and no snacks, then just the two snacks and no meal, then just one snack, and finally only the bread and water.

To help in fulfilling the bread and water fast, one can buy some of the tastier Italian, French or other European breads, for example, and perhaps still put butter on it at first. The water could be flavored with lemon.

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