Fasting is not dieting, though. If we make it about dieting we may focus too much on ourselves which would then defeat the point of fasting—to grow in humility and holiness. So fasting should always be accompanied by prayer.
Fasting is a form of penance, but it’s not just for Lent. While prayer makes right your relationship with God and almsgiving makes right your relationship with others, fasting makes right your relationship with yourself; and making things right with yourself can and should be done whenever possible.
“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”Matthew 6-16-18
Fasting also helps us with lust, drunkenness, and other temptations of the flesh because it strengthens our virtue of temperance. It teaches us to quiet our base desires that cause us to do the very thing we hate (Romans 7:15).
So why not try fasting outside of Lent? Or, if you have, why not do it again? Instead of having your favorite meal, consume the Word of God. It’s amazing how much fasting can make things right for yourself and others.
‘Man shall not live by bread alone,Matthew 4:4
but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’
You can fast for anything, not just yourself. If you have a friend struggling with a sin, fast for them. Fast for your country, the Church, the world. The power of fasting can do unbelievable things if we take it seriously.
Meet Jackie and Bobby Angel
Jackie Francois Angel is a full-time worship leader and speaker. Bobby Angel is a campus minister and theology teacher at a Catholic high school. Married in 2013, they have four beautiful children and strive to grow in holiness each day!