10 Minute Daily Retreat - Read the Daily Gospel with a prayerful heart.
By Malcolm Davies (No.80)
When the bridegroom is taken from them, then they will fast.
John’s disciples came to Jesus and said, ‘Why is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not?’ Jesus replied, ‘Surely the bridegroom’s attendants would never think of mourning as long as the bridegroom is still with them? But the time will come for the bridegroom to be taken away from them, and then they will fast.’(Matthew 9:14-15)
In the New Testament, Jesus brings to light the profound motive for fasting. He has already told us that we do not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
The true fast is thus directed to eating the true food, which is to do the Father's will. We know that in the book of Genesis, Adam and Eve disobeyed the Lord's command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. As believers we choose fasting in order to say to God that, unlike Adam and Eve, we will not just do what we want but we want to do what God wants.
In our own day, fasting seems to have lost something of its spiritual meaning. Instead it has taken on, in a culture characterised by the search for material well-being, a focus on the care of a person’s physical body. While fasting certainly brings benefits to physical well-being, it is so much more.
For believers, it is a decision to seek the Lord in a deeper way and to rid ourselves of everything that prevents us from knowing and living the will of God.
Through the practice of fasting, Christians imitate Jesus who fasted during forty days. Fasting tends to attain the freedom of mind and allows us to increase our self-control.
Fasting can also be a form of solidarity with the poor. In a world where so many go hungry it does us no harm to experience what that might be like.
Through fasting and praying, we allow Jesus, in the power of the Spirit, to come and satisfy the deepest hunger that we experience in the depths of our being: the hunger and thirst for God.
Do I have a fasting decision for Lent?
5 minutes: READ the text slowly.
REFLECT on a phrase or word that struck you.
SPEAK to God about your thoughts.
5 minutes: LISTEN to God speak to you.
RESPOND with a prayer that feels right for you.
Next Reflection: Susanne Timpani Sunday 22nd February, 2015