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Why we should fast as emphasized in Scripture

 There are hundreds of verses in the Old and New Testament that speak of fasting.  First and foremost, fasting requires a discipline and reorienting priorities.  St. Chrysostom said, “Prayer and fasting are like two wings that carry a person to the heights of God.”

 In the Old Testament, many of those verses are around epic stories of how Israel won battles where the circumstances were not in their favor.  The Lord was clearly showing that through fasting, the destiny of a nation can change. 

 In the New Testament, Jesus emphasized "Because of the littleness of your faith, for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, move from here to there, and it will move and nothing will be impossible to you.  But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”   (Matt. 17:20-21)

 There are also numerous scriptures that indicate fasting is a sign of repentance, as well as being a sign of humility. 

​​​​​​Why and how we should fast as consistently emphasized by Our Lady at Medjugorje


 Fasting has been one of the most consistent messages at Medjugorje since Our Lady started appearing there in 1981.  Fasting is one Our Lady's five stones of Medjugorje.  She tells us that fasting is both a medicine and a sacrifice. 


 In June, 1982, before the evening Mass, during the apparition, the Virgin told the priests, through the intermediary of the visionaries:  “Thank the people in my name for the prayers, fasting, and conversion, and have them wait with patience the realization of my promise.  Everything is unfolding according to God’s plan.”

​ On July 21, 1982, in response to a question on fasting, Our Lady said:  “The best fast is on bread and water.  Through fasting and prayer, one can stop wars; one can suspend the laws of nature.  Charity cannot replace fasting.  Those who are not able to fast can sometime replace it with prayer, charity and a confession; but everyone, except the sick, must fast.”


 In September, 1983, Our Lady said: “I have already said many times that the peace of the world is in a state of crisis.  Become brothers among you, increase prayer and fasting in order to be saved.”


 In December, 1983, Our Lady said:  “The fasting which you are doing in eating fish, instead of meat, is not fasting, but abstinence.  The true fast consists in giving up our sins, but one must also renounce himself and make the body participate in it.”


 On September 26, 1985, Our Lady said:  “By fasting you will achieve and cause me the joy of the whole plan, which God is planning here in Medugorje, being fulfilled.”


 On October 25, 2012, Our Lady said:  “Renew fasting and prayer because Satan is cunning and attracts many hearts to sin and perdition.  I call you, little children, to holiness and to live in grace.  Adore my Son so that He may fill you with His peace and love for which you yearn.”


 On July 2, 2013, Our Lady said:  “I desire to lead you to the freedom of the promise of my Son, because I desire for God’s will to be fulfilled completely here; and that through reconciliation with the Heavenly Father, through fasting and prayer, apostles of God’s love may be born – apostles who will freely, and with love, spread the love of God to all my children – apostles who will spread the love of the trust in the Heavenly Father and who will keep opening the gates of Heaven.”


 On January 2, 2015, Our Lady said:  “Many false truths are being offered to you.  You will overcome them with a heart cleansed by fasting, prayer, penance, and the Gospel... My children, I will make use of you, apostles of love, to help all of my children to come to know the truth.”

  In summary, Our Lady asks us to fast on Wednesdays and Fridays, on bread and water.  She understands that this is not easy, especially when we are just beginning to fast, so she encourages us to start with just one day a week, and then eventually work up to two days/week. 

Why do we not fast?


 So, let’s then ask ourselves, why do we not fast often?  There are probably many answers to that question, but one conclusion is that we lack the discipline.  Laziness, lack of belief, a busy schedule, headaches, fatigue, sloth, unwillingness to deny a simple pleasure to our body, not fervent enough to conquer a personal prayer request, not wanting something bad enough, seeing too big an obstacle…are just a few reasons why we do not fast.  But, when the history of the entire Bible is viewed through the pages of scripture, fasting is a key spiritual weapon for the salvation of nations and souls.

​​Source:  Signs and Wonders for Our Times, The Secret Weapon We Need to Utilize, by Ted Flynn, Summer, 2018

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