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To: Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; nickcarraway; Romulus; ...
 Why do we FAST?

 Why do we fast? Why is it important for us to fast? What can we learn from Biblical experience
 of fasting? What did Jesus say or do about fasting? How can we fast?

 I- Why do we fast?

  1- To be able to see: What? Am I blind? How can fasting help me to see?
     We are blinded by many things in this life. Therefore, we need to fast in order to see.
     We are blinded by disordinate desires (greed, envy, lust, gluttony,...), sins (sin makes us blind), bad
 habits (drinking, pornography, swearing, ...), riches (money, talents,...), and pleasures.
 Because of these things mentioned above, we cannot see things as they are. We cannot see the face
 of God or comprehend his mysteries. We cannot see the face of our neighbor and see his/her needs.

 2- We fast in order to be protected from enemies:
 “The message was brought to Jehoshaphat: "A great multitude is coming against you from across the
 sea, from Edom; they are already in Hazazon-tamar" (which is En-gedi). Jehoshaphat was frightened,
 and he hastened to consult the LORD. He proclaimed a fast for all Judah. Then Judah gathered to seek
 help from the LORD; from every one of the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD. Jehoshaphat
 stood up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem in the house of the LORD before the new court, and he
 said: "LORD, God of our fathers, are you not the God in heaven, and do you not rule over all the
 kingdoms of the nations? In your hand is power and might, and no one can withstand you... We are
 powerless before this vast multitude that comes against us. We are at a loss what to do, hence our eyes
 are turned toward you." All Judah was standing before the LORD, with their little ones, their wives, and
 their young sons. And the spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel, son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son
 of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the clan of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly, and he said:
 "Listen, all of Judah, inhabitants of Jerusalem, and King Jehoshaphat! The LORD says to you: 'Do not
 fear or lose heart at the sight of this vast multitude, for the battle is not yours but God's.” (2 Chronicles
 20:2-12, 15).

 3- We can ask others to fast on our behalf:
 After the people of God knew that they would be exterminated, they went into deep mourning, with
 fasting, weeping, and lament; they all slept on sackcloth and ashes. The queen Esther was asked to
 intercede with the king in behalf of her people. Esther said to Mordecai: “Go and assemble all the Jews
 who are in Susa; fast on my behalf, all of you, not eating or drinking, night or day, for three days. I and
 my maids will also fast in the same way. Thus prepared, I will go to the king, contrary to the law. If
 I perish, I perish!” (Esther 4:3-16).
 We can fast on behalf of our father who has no job or our mother who is sick or we can fast for our
 brother who needs to take an important decision in life. “Please fast on my behalf.”

 4- We fast to avoid the anger of God after we commit a grave sin:
 “Jonah began his journey through the city, and had gone but a single day's walk announcing, "Forty days
 more and Nineveh shall be destroyed," when the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast
 and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth. When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose
 from his throne, laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in the ashes. Then he had
 this proclaimed throughout Nineveh, by decree of the king and his nobles: "Neither man nor beast,
 neither cattle nor sheep, shall taste anything; they shall not eat, nor shall they drink water. Man and
 beast shall be covered with sackcloth and call loudly to God; every man shall turn from his evil way and
 from the violence he has in hand. Who knows, God may relent and forgive, and withhold his blazing
 wrath, so that we shall not perish." When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way,
 he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them; he did not carry it out.”

 5- We fast before we go for the mission:
 Jesus fasted 40 days before he began his mission. You can fast before you set peace between your
 cousins or neighbors. You can fast before you bring peace & love among people.

Today is the first day of Great Lent for Eastern Catholics. In the Maronite Churches around the world, during the Divine Liturgy, ashes are blended with holy water and painted on the forehead of the faithful.

Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent in the Latin Church.

3 posted on 02/04/2008 9:49:25 AM PST by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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4 posted on 02/04/2008 9:56:47 AM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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