More than one kind of fasting – St Francis de Sales

“All the members of our body must fast — yes, even the understanding, the memory, and the will, since we have sinned through both body and spirit.”

Dominus mihi adjutor

With Ash Wednesday now passing for another year and our Lenten observance upon us, a few wise and perhaps not often seen words from St Francis de Sales might be helpful as we launch ourselves into the penitential discipline of Lent. In this sermon, a long one, he teaches on fasting. This excerpt bears a little reflection form us all:

To treat of fasting and of what is required to fast well, we must, at the start, understand that of itself fasting is not a virtue. The good and the bad, as well as Christians and pagans, observe it. The ancient philosophers observed it and recommended it. They were not virtuous for that reason, nor did they practice virtue in fasting. Oh, no, fasting is a virtue only when it is accompanied by conditions which render it pleasing to God. Thus it happens that it profits some and not others…

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About The Codgitator (a cadgertator)

Catholic convert. Quasi-Zorbatic. Freelance interpreter, translator, and web marketer. Former ESL teacher in Taiwan (2003-2012) and former public high school teacher (2012-2014). Married father of three. Multilingual, would-be scholar, and fairly consistent fitness monkey. My research interests include: the interface of religion and science, the history and philosophy of science and technology, ancient and medieval philosophy, and cognitive neuroscience. Please pray for me.
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One Response to More than one kind of fasting – St Francis de Sales

  1. Branch says:

    Indeed, what the Lord has showed me thus far this Lent is that I should fast from constantly looking to the Pope or bishops or anyone else and their faults, but rather to see more deeply what is happening, and how far I have fallen away from Him:

    “any attempt to explain the current crisis in the Church as being the result of the imposition of these errors from the top (by modernist bishops, priests, religious, theologians) upon the faithful, while being true, is also profoundly superficial. A careful examination of the Beatitudes and their corresponding Gifts of the Holy Spirit necessarily draws us to the conclusion that before the crisis which seems to have been precipitated by Vatican Council II, Catholics were almost universally living in deep prostitution to the values of the secular world, especially in their pursuit of the “mammon of iniquity.” We are therefore faced with the further conclusion that God could no longer allow such hypocrisy and that the taking away of entirely gratuitous gifts, including the Traditional Mass, was a chastisement well deserved.”
    From James Larson’s article here:

Be kind, be (relatively) brief, be clear...

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