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Fasting

The Role of Physical Denial in Breaking the Addiction

by Juan Taylor

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Mortification of the flesh through fasting, as described in Sacred Scripture is still held up by the Church as one of the "three pillars of the spiritual life."  together with prayer and almsgiving.
 

For the Sake of Charity 

"Unless the Lord build the house, 
they labor in vain who build. 
Unless the Lord guard the city, 
in vain does the guard keep watch. 
It is vain for you to rise early 
and put off your rest at night, 
to eat bread earned by hard toil - 
all this God gives to his beloved 
in sleep." 
Psalm 127: 1-2 

Though one can pray and one can fast, to do all three - Prayer, 
Fasting and Works of Charity is a special grace from the Lord of All. 
(Amos 10:22) 

In the Works of Charity, Charity becomes religion. Out of the Heart of 
God it becomes the Spirit in action. It becomes God doing. 
Christianity with a Heart, ..and Communion becomes Real. Yet none of 
this is possible unless God Grant it. 

While many meditate on "self-realization, it is only in works of 
charity one finds Oneself. For love of self is within the 2nd 
commandment. And love of self destroys selfishness. 

Fasting frees one from the world, the flesh and the devil
"Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and 
whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and 
whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy 
of me.   
Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my 
sake will find it."   Matthew 10:37-39 


"Why do we fast, and you do not see it? afflict ourselves, and you 
take no note of it?" Lo, on your fast day you carry out your own 
pursuits, and drive all your laborers. 

Yes, your fast ends in quarreling and fighting, striking with wicked 
claw. Would that today you might fast so as to make your voice heard 
on high! Isaiah 58:3-4 

Fasting enables one to enter aboard the path of prayer, fasting and 
works of charity. By way of fasting, ..these things become possible. 

The true effort of the spiritual life lies in fasting. While most of 
the culture of Christianity perceives fasting as a voluntary and a 
token spiritual practice, only those who are in a condition of habitual fasting 
are free of the world, the flesh and the devil. The rest will be 
tormented by them. ..Better to fast. 

Fasting immediately frees one from the world, the flesh and the devil. 
It begets prayer. Through fasting, one becomes available in a mystical 
sense to others. And it's not possible to follow the way of fasting 
and the way of the flesh at the same time. 

Fasting is the ticket to ride the Train. 

The Fast from the Heart 

"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am 
meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for 
yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light." 
Matthew 11: 29-30 

"We have this fast too as an ally, and as an assistant 
in this good intercession. Therefore, as when the 
winter is over and the summer is appearing, the sailor 
draws his vessel to the deep; and the soldier 
burnishes his arms, and makes ready his steed for the 
battle; and the husbandman sharpens his sickle; and 
the traveler boldly undertakes a long journey, and 
the wrestler strips and bares himself for the contest. 
So too, when the fast makes its appearance, like a 
kind of spiritual summer, let us as soldiers burnish 
our weapons; and as 
husbandmen let us sharpen our sickle; and as sailors 
let us order our thoughts against the waves of 
extravagant desires; and as travelers let us set out 
on the journey towards heaven; and as wrestlers let us 
strip for the contest. For the believer is at once a 
husbandman, and a sailor, and a soldier, a wrestler, 
and a traveler. Hence St. Paul says, "We wrestle not 
against flesh and blood, but against principalities, 
against powers. Put on therefore the whole armor of 
God." - St. John Chrysostom 

A true fast is a fast from the heart. One does not 
fast from food, or sights, or pleasures, but rather 
there is one fast and one true fast only - the fast 
from the heart. For if one fasts from food without 
fasting from the heart, then the tongue will be ones 
downfall, ..or 
the ears, or the eyes. Someone who does not fast from 
the heart is merely fasting technically, that is 
without love. 

If one fasts from the heart, then fasting becomes 
united with prayer and hence love. It ceases being 
arduous and Fasting becomes a Joy. Yet it's also 
circular because to be able to fast from the heart, 
one must fast to find the heart in the first place. 

One must pray from the heart, one must fast from the 
heart, and one must also make sacrifices from the 
heart. For the heart is where love resides and 
everything must be bound together in this love. And 
then the way to God becomes but a simple act of love. 

Fasting Burns Away Impurity

I have come to my garden, my sister, my bride;
I gather my myrrh and my spices,
I eat my honey and my sweetmeats,
I drink my wine and my milk.

Eat, friends; drink! Drink freely of love!

Song of Songs 5:1

The pain of fasting purges away impurity and brings a sexual equilibrium.

For the person, who is enlightened by a human soul, the first object
of sexuality is God himself. Whether it be a Virgin or Married spouse,
for sexuality to be in equilibrium, for sexuality to be pure, it must
be in God. And when it is in God, then the person is given a paradise.

Fasting, and only Fasting, together with prayer and sacrifices, brings
about a complete sexual equilibrium in man. One in which the whole
person has embraced an ordered sexuality and is thereby transformed. 

LENTEN PREPARATION FOR PRAYER AND FASTING

A People of Fasting

'Then the disciples of John approached him and said,
"Why do we and the Pharisees fast [much], but your
disciples do not fast?" Jesus answered them, "Can the
wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with
them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken
away from them, and then they will fast. No one
patches an old cloak with a piece of unshrunken cloth,
for its fullness pulls away from the cloak and the
tear gets worse. People do not put new wine into old
wineskins. Otherwise the skins burst, the wine spills
out, and the skins are ruined. Rather, they pour new
wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved."'
- Matthew 9:14-17

The people who fast are being raised up. The
redemption becomes an active thing for them. Their
lives are continually renewed and there is an
equanimity in both misfortune and prosperity.

Immodesty on the other hand prefers the bed of roses
to the bed of straw. The immodest person says, "I
choose the bed of roses. And it may be the Lord's own
wish that I have comfort in this world". The person
who fasts says, "I will wait for Christ. Those bed of
roses shall be changed into a bed of thorns, while my
bed of straw will give me comfort unending". "Those
bed of roses will lead to greater and insatiable
wants, while my bed of straw will lead to a greater
yearning for the Lord."

- Juan Taylor
 

The Soul of the Spiritual Athlete

Proverbs 24: 13-14

If you eat honey, my son, because it is good,
if virgin honey is sweet to your taste;
Such, you must know, is wisdom to your soul,
If you find it, you will have a future,
and your hope will not be cut off.


The soul of the spiritual athlete lies at the heart of
his vocation. Through prayer, one receives the grace
of a virtue. But it is strengthened and it grows
through the practice of the virtue. Temptations are
merely opportunities to grow in virtue. And that's all
that they really are.

The spiritual athlete does not directly fight against
his temptations. Vice is never really extinguished by
direct force. But rather to be strengthened in the
virtue itself is the whole goal. The spiritual athlete
does not seek to destroy his sins, but to increase
greatly his virtue. (Though sometimes one will leave
Virtue for Virtue and God for God.) The more the
athlete loves the virtue, the more he gains it through
the practice of it. And the easier it becomes for him
to practice it. He knows that only through the
practice of the virtue is the virtue increased. So it
becomes easy for him to reject those things that form
a barrier
to his growth and accept those things that will make
it grow.

The alcoholic should seek to strengthen his inner
Sobriety. Sobriety is an expression of the very nature
of God as all of the virtues are in one way or the
other. If his soul is called to Sobriety (as evidenced
from his alcoholism), then his temptations to alcohol
become opportunities for attaining this destined and
supernatural sobriety. If the alcoholic has no love
for sobriety, then he has no chance to be truly sober.
If he has true love for sobriety however, then he may
enter upon the path to what he can only see with his
Spiritual eyes.

The more he falls in love with sobriety, the more he
practices sobriety. And the more he practices
sobriety, the more he falls in love with it and the
more he will be strengthened to reject immoderate use
of alcohol because he knows that his rejection
strengthens that inner, supernatural sobriety within
himself.

When his love for Sobriety grows past 2/3's of his
love for alcohol, he will not need to call himself an
alcoholic anymore.

- Juan Taylor

The 3 Strings of Human Holiness

"The corrections of discipline are the way to life"
(Proverbs 6:23).

There are 3 strings of human holiness. Conversion,
Fasting and Prayer. In the Unity of these, the
spiritual athlete is positioned for the reception of
Grace. These things are not a magical thing, but
rather 3 muscles that are strengthened over time.

The muscle of Conversion is practiced through
sacrifices that draw one on the road to holiness. The
muscle of Prayer is the ability to create musical
compositions in the realm of the Divine. And the
muscle of Fasting crucifies one to the world, and at
the same time opens one up to Heaven.

The 3 Strings of human holiness in essence form one
muscle. Which can be strengthened over time and also
even strained at times. But it must be exercised, and
exercised in unity, to grow. An exercise in one, is a
help to the exercise in another. If 2 are perceived as
strong and the other is weak, then there is an
imbalance which will be made manifest. Growth in this
3-in-1 muscle is universal for a person. Hence it is
the human side, the human portion, of holiness. It
creates what one can consider a human religion.

Religion should not be merely an appropriate DNA
structure for some. Piety should not be equated with
Weakness, with the way a person is naturally. What
poses as piety may be a weakness. True piety however,
in terms of the 3 strings, is real strength. If a
person is not growing, with outward signs to prove it,
then they are not in the form of the spiritual athlete
and there is a problem in the balance of the 3 strings
of Conversion, Fasting and Prayer.

If a Christian rejects or does not know about this
3-in-1 muscle to any great degree, then their
spiritual structure will be very weak. Faith for them
may become something that is, in practice, the
struggle to merely keep their Faith. Piety becomes a
social affair, it cannot become anything else. And so
instead of going forward, they backtrack. They are
subsisting mostly on an animalistic spiritual
structure, not a human one. Where everything is all in
one's head, one cannot rise to one's human destiny.

The 3 Strings, Conversion, Fasting and Prayer, in
unity, form the human portion of holiness. It forms
what We must do.

- Juan Taylor

"Fasting begets prophets and strengthens strong men. Fasting makes lawgivers wise; it is the soul's safeguard, the body's trusted comrade, the armor of the champion, the training of the athlete."   - St. Basil, Bishop of Caesarea (AD 330-379).

 One has to work toward fasting from what one Loves. That is something that is maybe not bad in itself but probably has become a vice because of frequency, like television, smoking, etc. This type of fasting hits the heart of the person.  To get to the heart, one needs prayer and fasting on bread and water, as our Blessed Mother has said at Medjugorje.  Then that prepares for the fasting from what one loves.

If the fasting is too much for the person, then they can go on something like a half fast from it. But it would still be felt in the heart. This is the "training of the athlete". So it's also indirect, it's not fasting from impurity. It's fasting from what one loves that 'hits the heart'. Because it hits the heart, you're carrying the cross. You morally cannot sin.

But as soon as you succumb and watch television or smoke, then you will sin. So once again, the training of the athlete is important, however the whole thing is pretty quick if one knows the rules.

So from the perspective of practicality, this is really the only way. - Juan Taylor

TRINITARIAN FASTING 

Luke 4:1-13

Filled with the holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they were over he was hungry. The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread." Jesus answered him, It is written, 'One does not live by bread alone.'" Then he took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a single instant. The devil said to him, "I shall give to you all this power and their glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I may give it to whomever I wish. all this will be yours, if you worship me. Jesus said to him in reply, "it is written: 'You shall worship the Lord, your God, and him alone shall you serve.'" Then he led him to Jerusalem, made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written: 'He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you', and: 'with their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.'" Jesus said to him in reply, "It also says, 'You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.'" When the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time.

There are three stages of fasting -

The first stage is the fasting on Bread and Water, which brings forth the grace of faith and prayer.

The second is the fasting from what one Loves. Though one is not necessarily fasting from something that is a vice in itself, it is the breaker of vices.

The third is the fasting from Everything. Only duty or charity breaks this fast. This is fasting in the Spirit.

One goes from one to the other. Though not left behind, the previous prepares and also leads to the next one.

The final one is called Charity in action.

Juan Taylor

CHASTITY   (Addendum August 1, 2004)
 

Definition: "Sexual temperance"

Genesis 1:28
God blessed them, saying: "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and
subdue it...

Romans 8: 6
For the concern of the flesh is hostility towards God; it does not submit to
the law of God, nor can it; and those who are in the flesh cannot please
God.

-------------------------

Perfect chastity is the Bodily fruit of all of the virtues. To be chaste is
to be fruitful by means of the vehicle of the body. Far from a negation of
sexuality, chastity supposes a temperance or moderation in which the body
attains a Fruitful essence. This fruitful essence expresses itself within
the first covenant of God to man where the Lord says, "Be fruitful and
multiply: fill the earth and subdue it." The end of chastity is the
guardianship and fruitfulness of the whole of the created universe.

Prayer and fasting are the safeguards of chastity. In fasting, realism is
realized due to the weakness of man due to the fall. (Romans 8: 6) This
weakness incurs in man the loss of capability and desire to truly be
fruitful. The redemption of Christ within cosmological history, on the other
hand, restores this capability. Following Christ, the capability and desire
to be truly fruitful is given to the one who fasts and prays.

Romans 8:11
If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the
one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies
also, through his Spirit that dwells in you.

With fasting, one can hope to be chaste. Without fasting, one cannot even
consider it. Christian fasting cuts like a knife into the heart of 'the
flesh'. It says a definitive No to sin, and Yes to Jesus. Prayer, on the
other hand, is the heart of chastity. In prayer, our mortal bodies begin to
experience the resurrection of Christ. If fasting pushes the flesh down,
prayer raises it up again. It enables the body to be truly fruitful in the
Spirit.

Chastity makes both the church and society fruitful in an outward way. For
the Church, it brings forth Sobriety. An acceptance that it is possible to
be 'crucified with Christ'. It brings forth fruitfulness in the works and
and the mission of the Church. True evangelization, not being possible
without great chastity.

For the world, it brings forth justice. True justice, where the fruitfulness
of man, instead of merely satisfying his own passions, is directed towards
the building of a civilization of love in the world. This includes a
stewardship of the whole of creation, where man can look at a blade of grass
or fishes that make their way through the waters or lions in the field and
witness that he has indeed made all things fruitful.

 
 

 

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