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Offline Matthew

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Fasting well
« on: February 10, 2008, 06:58:33 PM »
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  • >From "The Sermons of St. Francis de Sales for Lent"
              Chapter 1- Fasting, abridged.

       To treat of fasting and of what is required to fast well, we must, at the
    start, understand that of itself fasting is not a virtue. The good and the
    bad, as well as Christians and pagans, observe it. The ancient philosophers
    observed it and recommended it. They were not virtuous for that reason, nor
    did they practice virtue in fasting. Oh, no, fasting is a virtue only when
    it is accompanied by conditions which render it pleasing to God. Thus it
    happens that it profits some and not others, because it is not undertaken by
    all in the same manner.

       We find some people who think that to fast well during the holy season of
    Lent it is enough to abstain from eating some prohibited food. But this
    thought is too gross to enter into the hearts of religious, for it is to you
    I speak, as well as persons dedicated to Our Lord. We know very well that it
    is not enough to fast exteriorly if we do not also fast interiorly and if we
    do not accompany the fast of the body with that of the spirit.

       It will be very helpful to state clearly what must be done to fast well
    these forty days. For although everyone is bound to know it and to practice
    it, religious and persons dedicated to Our Lord are more particularly
    obliged to it. Now, among all the conditions required for fasting well, I
    will select three principal ones and speak familiarly about them.

       The FIRST condition is that we must fast with our whole heart, that is to
    say, willingly, whole-heartedly, universally and entirely. If I recount to
    you St. Bernard's words regarding fasting, you will know not only why it is
    instituted but also how it ought to be kept.

       He says that fasting was instituted by Our Lord as a remedy for our
    mouth, for our gourmandizing and for our gluttony. Since sin entered the
    world through the mouth, the mouth must do penance by being deprived of
    foods prohibited and forbidden by the Church, abstaining from them for the
    space of forty days. But this glorious saint adds that, as it is not our
    mouth alone which has sinned, but also all our other senses, our fast must
    be general and entire, that is, all the members of our body must fast.

       The SECOND condition is never to fast through vanity but always through
    humility. If our fast is not performed with humility, it will not be
    pleasing to God. Prepare yourselves to fast with charity, for if your fast
    is performed without it, it will be vain and useless, since fasting, like
    all other good works, is not pleasing to God unless it is done in charity
    and through charity. When you discipline yourself, when you say long
    prayers, if you have not charity, all that is nothing.

       The THIRD condition necessary for fasting well is to look to God and to
    do everything to please Him, withdrawing within ourselves in imitation of a
    great saint, St. Gregory the Great, who withdrew into a secret and
    out-of-the-way place where he remained for some time without anyone knowing
    where he was, being content that the Lord and His angels knew it.
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    Offline Kephapaulos

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    Fasting well
    « Reply #1 on: February 10, 2008, 08:30:04 PM »
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  • Those are very edifying words from a great saint. Now if only I could put them into practice this Lent.  
    "Non nobis, Domine, non nobis; sed nomini tuo da gloriam..." (Ps. 113:9)


    Online roscoe

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    Fasting well
    « Reply #2 on: February 10, 2008, 09:21:57 PM »
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  • I have made it a habit to abstain from anything except water for about the first 5 hours of every day--Lent or not.
    There Is No Such Thing As 'Sede Vacantism'...
    nor is there such thing as a 'Feeneyite' or 'Feeneyism'

    Offline Kephapaulos

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    Fasting well
    « Reply #3 on: February 10, 2008, 10:25:58 PM »
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  • I know my confessor advised me to increase penance little by little during Lent.
    "Non nobis, Domine, non nobis; sed nomini tuo da gloriam..." (Ps. 113:9)

     

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