FishEaters Traditional Catholic Forums

Full Version: Fasting
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
Hi Fisheaters,
I want to include fasting as part of my regular spiritual practice, not simply something to do during Lent. I have a weakness for food, and this would be good for me (fasting certainly won't endanger my health, to put things kindly).

Do any of you fast (outside of Lent)? What kind of benefits have you noticed in your spiritual lives, and how do you practice the fast practically?

I'd be interested in links to relevant literature too if you know of any. Thanks!
A family friend of mine introduced me several years ago to this "organization" called the e5 Men, which is a Christian-wide group. http://www.e5men.org/ The e5 refers to Ephesians 5, which speaks of Christ's sacrifice for His Bride, the Church, and how husbands should likewise sacrifice for their wives. The organization is devoted solely to fasting at least on the first Wednesdays of the month on bread and water only for the sake of your wife, future wife, sister, other women, etc. It also encourages those who are willing to fast more often, including those who fast every Wednesday, bread and water. I switched to the weekly fasting a while ago, and it has been amazing. I don't do it so much for e5 anymore as I do for various intentions, though I often do it for my future wife (and lately for my vocation, as my future wife might instead be the Church). It is definitely difficult, but I have come to enjoy the spiritual benefits of it, as it increases your detachment from food and has increased my spiritual devotions. Especially when Fridays hardly feel penitential, since there are plenty of great meals I have while still fulfilling the Friday abstinence. Wednesdays are doubly great days to do it because early Christians took Fridays and Wednesdays as penitential days (Wednesday was when Christ was betrayed, Friday when He was crucified).
I corresponded once with Fr. Chad Ripperger (formerly with the Fraternity of St. Peter) to ask him what kind of fast he recommends (because he had urged fasting in one of his sermons).  He told me that the best practice is to fast on Wednesdays and Fridays and to do what the Church prescribes:  no meat; one full meal; allowing two smaller meals that do not equal a full meal.  You would be safe with that practice.

You might want to listen to this sermon of Fr. Ripperger:  http://www.sensustraditionis.org/webaudi...asting.mp3
Yes, I'll fast outside of Lent. The best benefit is gaining mastery over your senses and appetites. You no longer are a slave to your body and its wants, but direct it with complete control. You can enjoy here, and abstain there. You're like a dairy farmer sifting the cream off the top. The discipline is not about itself, but about gaining mastery, offering up a sacrifice to God, and learning how to develop a mature relationship to the things God has given us for sustenance and pleasure. Learn how to step back from the growling belly, and saying, I don't have to respond to that. I am greater than my stomach. You know you won't die. Over time you'll learn how to apply this to all sorts of sensual pleasures.

Ideas to extend it are:

- Fridays
- Fridays and Saturdays
- Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays
- No eating until sundown
- Eating at midday, and abstaining the rest of the day
- Making collations optional (i.e., use them only if needed)
- Vigils of I and II class feasts; ember days and rogation days
Marking for future reference - there is some great advice in this thread.
(10-31-2012, 11:26 AM)Scriptorium Wrote: [ -> ]Yes, I'll fast outside of Lent. The best benefit is gaining mastery over your senses and appetites. You no longer are a slave to your body and its wants, but direct it with complete control. You can enjoy here, and abstain there. You're like a dairy farmer sifting the cream off the top. The discipline is not about itself, but about gaining mastery, offering up a sacrifice to God, and learning how to develop a mature relationship to the things God has given us for sustenance and pleasure. Learn how to step back from the growling belly, and saying, I don't have to respond to that. I am greater than my stomach. You know you won't die. Over time you'll learn how to apply this to all sorts of sensual pleasures.

There are many reasons why we fast, such as penance, making up for the first sin (eating when we shouldn't), but I like this reasoning best. Someone once said that fasting is separates us from animals. Animals go off of instincts; when they are hungry, they eat, when they are uncomfortable, they try to fix it. Fasting (and other forms of mortification, for that matter), show that we embrace our cross with the suffering Christ, and that as humans made in the image of God we have the power to will our denial of basic goods.
Once you get used to fasting more regularly, you might find that you can't handle a normal size meal anymore.  In that case you might have 2 meals of equal size, adding up to no more than what's allowed on a fast.  You won't have that noisy belly for long, either.  And you'll feel better physically too.
In the words of the Desert Fathers:

ASCESIS

=)