Are we using this beautiful time of Advent to prepare our hearts for Christmas? Or is the Christmas hype distracting us?
Some may think that Lent is the only good time for fasting. However, both Lent and Advent are penitential seasons of the liturgical year and both are ideal times for fasting. Advent is often called a “mini-Lent.”
Is it even possible to fast during Advent when Christmas parties occur weekly and when the world starts celebrating Christmas before Advent even begins?
Yes, it is possible! The important thing is to start.
Fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays helps us to focus on the spiritual value of this beautiful season. This is the time for preparing our hearts and souls. Jesus indeed comes to save his people and we must be prepared to meet Him and to celebrate the beautiful feast of His birthday.
Praying, fasting, reading Scripture and almsgiving are all ideal ways to prepare during Advent. However, fasting especially puts a light under our prayers and helps us to remain focused on the spiritual, rather than the commercial, aspects of Advent and Christmas.
St. John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae (1994) said, “Jesus himself has shown us by his own example that prayer and fasting are the first and most effective weapons against the forces of evil.” (P.101-102)
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said, “In our own day, fasting seems to have lost something of its spiritual meaning, and has taken on, in a culture characterized by the search for material well-being, a therapeutic value for the care of one’s body. Fasting certainly brings benefits to physical well-being, but for believers, it is, in the first place, a “therapy” to heal all that prevents them from conformity to the will of God.”
If you’ve never fasted before, consider giving up meat, coffee and/or treats on Wednesdays and Fridays during Advent. Rather than 24 hours, perhaps try to fast for 12 hours. Once you’ve mastered fasting from meat, coffee and/or treats, then you can try eating less foods or even try to fast on bread and water alone.
For more information on how to get started with fasting, check out our website. Always check with your physician before beginning any fasting routine.
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Live the Fast is a Roman Catholic Apostolate that is focused on bringing more awareness to the discipline of fasting by offering educational resources on prayer and fasting, a prayer community that will inspire one to live the fast and providing nutritious fasting breads. (Priests and religious receive fasting breads and resources free of charge.)
copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach 2016