Dear Friends, the time of Lent takes us back directly to the forty days that Jesus spent in the desert before facing the devil’s temptations. Even though he did not need to, the Son of God strengthened his human fighting powers with fasting and prayer, so that we could understand the importance of our daily fight against the power of darkness.
In particular, we must understand the need for fasting in our growth as Christians, testified by two millennia of practice by the Church. Fasting and prayers are complementary and lend strength to each other. Fasting means crushing the hunger for worldly power and renouncing to what is transient. Praying means letting the hunger for God emerge within us and nourish us with his Word. Fasting is the time to empty oneself.
Prayer is the moment in which to find satiety in God. The two experiences are intimately linked, as the systolic and diastolic movements of the heart. Our society has forgotten the power that fasting instils in the heart of who practices it. By fasting, the will learns to renounce first to small things and then to big things. Who has the strength to renounce obtains victory in the battles of life, the worldly as well as the more spiritual. Renunciation disarms our enemies, it leaves them with empty hands and sends them fleeing.
Renunciation gives freedom and peace to who practices it. In particular, renunciation is the victorious weapon against the devil, who wants to destroy with what it offers. The return to practising a strict fast prepares the Church for the great battles.
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