How do Catholics Fast?

“Take care of your body as if you were going to live forever;  and take care of your soul as if you were going to die tomorrow.”
— St. Augustine

It’s here! Part two of the three-part series on fasting with the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal on Ascension Presents. In part one, we discussed the spiritual intimacy and emotional growth fasting brings. In part two, we break down how fasting also provides a myriad of physical benefits. Taking a break to go inward, silence the noise, and connect with God is an extremely rewarding practice; changing our physical, mental and spiritual constitutions in powerful ways. When paired with prayer, the power of fasting is more satisfying than any worldly pleasure. 

Dis-ease in the body leads to disease. If you’re feeling like you need more energy, better sleep, less inflammation, a clearing of mental fog, or just a boost in your overall health, fasting allows for this physical healing to take place. Fasting creates space for digestive healing; taking space from eating to cleanse our body. In the process, it also helps to prevent neurodegenerative disorders, enhances heart health by improving blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol levels, delays aging and extends longevity. 

Despite the long list of possible health benefits associated with fasting, keep in mind that it may not be right for everyone. Fasting is a stressor on the body and as with most things, it’s individual and unique to us. It is essential to dedicate time to pray and discern before embarking. Fasting must be coupled with prayer, especially from the beginning.

Fasting makes us more conscious of how present God is and how He is calling us outside of self and directly to Him. If you’re unsure how and where to start, I invite you to watch this video, where we outline different ways to fast and steps to begin your fasting journey. Step in and try it. If the desire is there and from God, He will help you fulfill. You’ll be able to take the renewed energy and physical healing received and order it toward honoring God, loving, and serving others.  

Next up later this week, Part III: How Diet Affects the Spiritual Life: Eating to nourish both our body and soul. Stay tuned!