1917 Fast Observance Today*: Fasting, maximum food intake is one meal, along with two small meal (that together don’t equate to another full meal). No snacking in between and no alcohol consumption today. No high-caloric “drinks” like milkshakes, smoothies, etc.
*Applicable to healthy adults between ages of 21-60 (some exemptions exist – see 1917 Fast: The Specifics)
1917 Abstinence Observance Today**: Partial abstinence, meaning that meat can be eaten only at the principal meal on these days
**Applicable to all age 7 and over.
Potential Prayer(s): The Liturgy of the Hours and the Sorrowful Mysteries Rosary
Potential Fast Intention: For those active and retired clergy, whose lives are dedicated to the service of the Church and who work hard to deliver many of the liturgical services we experience this Holy Week.
Potential Give: Consider donating to the Clergy Health and Retirement Trust, which cares “for the health, well-being, and long-term needs of the priests who serve our Archdiocese of Boston.”
Fasting Inspiration of the Day: Gospel of Mark 9:20-28 RSVCE
And they brought the boy to him; and when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. 21 And Jesus[d] asked his father, “How long has he had this?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 And it has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if you can do anything, have pity on us and help us.” 23 And Jesus said to him, “If you can! All things are possible to him who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out[e] and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” 25 And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You dumb and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again.” 26 And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse; so that most of them said, “He is dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. 28 And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” 29 And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting.”[f]
Comments of the Day: Fasting sometimes sounds like it is just a nice or good thing for us to do; perhaps as an add-on, something to try out here and there, to incorporate into our busy lives.
In reality, fasting, like prayer and almsgiving, is one of the most powerful spiritual weapons we have. In Mark 9:28, we learn that even Jesus’ disciples cannot cast out the evil spirit from the boy. Instead, the evil spirit is only cast out by prayer AND fasting.
At a subconscious level, I think we know this. Any spiritual weapon is one where we allow God to increase in us as we decrease. Evil spirits have a much more difficult time to co-opt us into temptation and convince us to sin if we are tempering our desires and conversing and praying to God throughout the day.
As Saint Basil the Great says,
“Fasting is a good safeguard for the soul, a steadfast companion for the body, a weapon for the valiant, and a gymnasium for athletes. Fasting repels temptations, anoints unto piety; it is the comrade of watchfulness and the artificer of chastity. In war it fights bravely, in peace it teaches stillness. – St. Basil the Great
Let us put on the armor of fasting today so that we may fight and conquer the spiritual battles we face!