For the Hebrews fasting was more than just afflicting one’s body.
Fasting involves the afflicting of one’s soul through the denial of our wants and desires.
Fasting is an spiritual exercise in which the body as well as the soul have equal participation.
Fasting is an expression of wholeheartedness. “Yet even now," says the Lord, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting." (Joel 2:12).
Fasting is an expression of Penance and Interior Conversion
When you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you" (Jeremiah 29:13,14).
“ Fasting helps to express, to deepen, and to confirm the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything - to sacrifice ourselves - to attain what we seek for the kingdom of God.” Andrew Murray.
“ The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened. “ Jonah 3: 5, 10
“ Our age, regrettably, is particularly susceptible to the temptation toward selfishness which always lurks within the human heart. In society generally, and in the media, people are bombarded by messages which more or less openly exalt the ephemeral and the hedonistic. Concern for others is certainly shown whenever natural disasters, war and other emergencies strike, but in general it is difficult to build a culture of solidarity. The spirit of the world affects our inner propensity to give ourselves unselfishly to others and drives us to satisfy our own particular interests. The desire to possess ever more is encouraged. Surely it is natural and right that people, by using their own gifts and by their own labour, should work to obtain what they need to live, but an excessive desire for possessions prevents human beings from being open to their Creator and to their brothers and sisters.”
In the Latin Church, abstinence means refraining from eating the meat from mammals or fowl, and soup or gravy made from them. Fish is allowed, hence Fridays are known as "Fish Fridays." Traditionally, the laws of abstinence apply to all aged 7 and over, but the new Code of Canon Law applies it to all who have completed their 14th year.
Fasting is the taking of only one full meal (which may include meat) and two smaller, meatless meals that don't equal the large one meal. No eating between meals is allowed, but water, milk tea, coffee, and juices are OK.
Meat is allowed at one meal (assuming abstinence isn't also expected on a given day).
Traditionally, everyone over 21 years of age and under 59 years of age is bound to observe the law of fast; but the present Code of Canon Law sets the ages of 18 and 59 as the limits.
Before the Eucharist (Mass): 1983 Code: nothing but water and medicines for 1 hour.
Fridays : 1983 Code: To abstain is the universal law. *Check with your local Bishops to learn what you are bound to in your local diocese.
Fridays of Lent : 1983 Code: Abstain on Fridays, even if you don't abstain on all other Fridays.
Good Friday : 1983 Code: Abstain and Fast.
Ash Wednesday : Day of Abstinence and Fasting.
Lenten Regulation for the Archdiocese of Miami
All the Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence . Meat may not be eaten. The law of abstinence binds all Catholics fourteen years of age and older. Ash Wednesday & Good Friday are also days of fast. All Catholics between the ages of 21 and 59 years old are bound to fast. On days of fast, one full meal and two lesser meals are allowed.
Eating between meals is not permitted.
Who are excused from the discipline of Fasting?
Those advance in age
Pregnant or Nursing mothers
Manual laborers (i.e. construction workers)
The mentally ill
Social factors (People in areas where there is famine or lack of food).
People are often unreasonable, irrational and self-centered; Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies; Succeed anyway. If you are honest and sincere, people may deceive you; Be honest and sincere anyway. What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight; Create anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous; Be happy anyway. The good you do today, will often be forgotten; Do good anyway. Give the best you have, and it may never be enough; Give your best anyway. In the final analysis, it is between you and God; It was never between you and them anyway. -- Mother Teresa
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