Dieting v. Fasting
Finally, I understand "fasting." A couple of confirmandi in my RCIA class did their presentation on "fasting," today. I had always understood fasting as dieting, which wasn't giving up something for God, but more for one's own health. So what good was it?
Others tried to explain to me that "fasting" will bring you closer to God. I couldn't see it. How? How does having a headache, and fighting off nausea, bring you closer to God?
Michael and James explained "fasting" requires one to fill up the area that "fasting" left. Giving up food, nowadays, isn't considered "fasting." The secular world tells you to give up food for dieting, for cleansing, and/or for some other health reason. The kind of fasting Jesus wants is the kind that is for spiritual health. Giving up a favorite TV show would be good because you would now have time to do some spiritual reading, praying, and/or an examination of conscience.
Remember Jesus going out to the desert to pray, for 40 days. His fasting included leaving behind his ministry schedule and all its demands, and replacing that with praying and meditation. Part of His "fasting" was leaving and separation. But He wasn't dieting; He had to eat and definitely drink. He modified His diet and prayed. All His meditation and prayer prepared Him to resist temptation. Satan didn't have a prayer of tempting Jesus. Jesus just went through 40 days of spiritual preparation. Physically, Jesus may have been weak, but spiritually, He was at His prime. What a time for Satan to pick!
We in the RCIA class decided to "fast" in one small way, for one week. I've decided to cut down my surfing the "net," time. I'll fill up that time to doing something for my family. After a week of "fasting," from time spent on the internet, I'll assess what good the "fasting" accomplished.