every body is like grass,
all its glory like a wildflower:
the grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of the Lord endures forever.
1 Peter 1:24-25

Man’s days are like hay,
he blooms like a wildflower in the field;
the wind barely touches it, and it’s gone,
its place no longer remembers it.
Psalm 103:15-16

The seven ancient Christian practices or disciplines, which directly come from Judaism and the teachings of the early church, stand firmly as indispensable guides to incorporating our faith into everyday life filled with human, psycho-physical activities. Each of these practices is, in other words, a means through which we, as believers, can embody our faith. Faith becomes a part of our reality that we experience and live through in our bodies as well as in our minds.

One of these practices is fasting. Fasting is a natural response of believers facing important decisions, serious challenges, and unpredictable circumstances. It is not a means to achieve a specific goal. Fasting is not an instrument; it is not a guarantee that what we hope for will happen, and it must never become a tool for spiritual manipulation. Fasting is a reaction to what has happened and what is happening. It is the body’s response amid the uncertainties we cannot understand or control. Christian author Dallas Willard writes that through fasting, we affirm our complete dependence on God by discovering in Him a source of life maintenance more important than food. Besides ‘bread,’ the word of God, which comes out of His mouth, is the fundamental substance that sustains our lives (Matthew 4:4).

In one sermon, Saint Augustine encourages believers, saying that fasting cleanses the soul, elevates the mind, subjects the body to the spirit, makes the heart repentant and humble, disperses the clouds of greed, extinguishes the fire of desire, and ignites the true light of chastity. Return to oneself once again.

Let us look within ourselves and around us. Do we find sufficient reasons for fasting, as a natural response to the state we find ourselves in?

Posted in Daily devotionals.