There has been a debate in the Catholic social media this month. It seems that, in 2018, Ash Wednesday falls on Valentine's Day and many Catholics are wondering if their bishop will give them a dispensation to do away with fasting because of the holiday.
The Catholic Church requires fasting on only two days of the liturgical calendar: Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Fridays in Lent we are only required to abstain from meat. This is often waived when St Patrick's Day falls on a Friday, so we Irish Catholics needn't forgo our corned beef and cabbage dinner.
Its a sad fact that so much of our spiritual lives these days is focused on what we can get away with, doing the bare minimum to obey the Church's rules and squeak into Purgatory. We need to look at the spiritual life as a relationship with Christ who gave without measure, to the very shedding of His blood to conquer sin and give us eternal life.
Fasting is one of the essentials in the Christian life, particularly in Lent, a season of purification and penance. It is certainly unpopular, as evidenced by the Valentine's Day discussion, but that's because we underestimate fasting's importance and power. We focus on what we are giving up, in a world where instant gratification is the only trusted source of joy. We do not realize what we are missing by overlooking fasting as an essential part of the path to God.
Jesus understood fasting. After His Baptism in the Jordan, He fasted for forty days in the desert before beginning His public ministry. Jesus clearly expected His followers to do the same, saying, not if but when you fast.
"Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full." Matt 6:16
Andy LaVallee discovered the power of fasting after his reversion to his faith while on pilgrimage to Medjugorje, which he describes in detail in his book From the Hub to the Heart. Since then, he has fasted on bread and water, twice a week, on Wednesdays and Fridays, he has also seen the amazing power of fasting in his personal life.
In When You Fast, LaVallee powerfully explains, using traditional Catholic teaching, Scriptures and personal testimony, that a relationship with Jesus contains the healing we are seeking and that fasting combined with prayer is the most powerful means of conversion for us and for the world.
Make this Lent a turning point in your spiritual life; be radically Biblical!
Pray, read Scriptures, give alms and fast.
Meet Jesus your Savior in a new and life changing way by reading When You Fast. and make fasting a voluntary not obligatory, part of your Lent.