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Observing the fasts of the Church

A wonderful question that arises often these days is, "Why do we fast?"

The quick and easy answer is: "Because we need to!" As simplistic as it seems, that answer tends to be unpopular among young people today. After all, our secular society celebrates and nurtures independence, autonomy and defiance of the status quo; why then should I restrict my eating habits or prevent myself from indulging in whatever food I please? Food is not sinful, so why stay away from it? And why endure starvation - or worse - vegan food?!?!

To help us answer this question, let's start with identifying the WRONG reasons to fast. These are often miscommunicated or misused by some to persuade or motivate young people to adhere to fasting restrictions, but they almost always result in offending or pushing them away.

  1. We do not fast because we like to punish ourselves. Fasting has nothing to do with self-inflicted pain. Nor is it designed to make you physically weak. In fact, some dieticians and nutrition experts today encourage patients and clients to practice intermittent fasting or strict abstinence to help regulate their eating habits. yourselves

  2. We do not fast to earn a special reward in Heaven. The Kingdom of Heaven is not an amusement park like Disney World where parents promise to take their children if they behave and do what they say. One does not earn special points in Heaven simply because they can refrain from meats and dairy products, or because they are able to fast longer or harder than others. Eternal life in Heaven does not reward machismo.

  3. We do not fast simply because that's what they did in the Bible. While we do follow the examples learned from the Gospel, first and foremost by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, fasting is not simply an ancient ritual or routine that Christians are obligated to follow for the sake of "tradition."

So why, then, do we need to fast? We fast because we need to. What does that mean? Well, what does it mean to "need" anything? One of the most prominent ideologies of our modern lives is the belief that we are self-sustaining, independent, and entirely free. We are taught that we do not need anything or anyone. We are both the master and the crew of our own ships, and captains of our destinies who are free from any limitations. Well, that sounds like a total lie, does it not?

In fact, we do need lots of things and lots of people in order to live a safe, healthy and meaningful life. We even need to be liberated from harmful worldly pleasures and lifestyles. We need fasting in order to truly be free, to truly be independent, to truly be the captain of our ships. But why? And how?

The fathers of the Church taught us

Scripture itself teaches us

Modern science teaches us

Suddenly, it no longer becomes a question of whether I believe fasting is necessary. Rather, it becomes a question of whether I am ready to do what is necessary? Am

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