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Friday, March 11, 2016

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Jeremiah, Chapter 2, Verse 19
Your own wickedness chastises you, your own infidelities punish you. Know then, and see, how evil and bitter is your forsaking the LORD, your God, and your showing no fear of me, oracle of the Lord, the GOD of hosts.

Fear begets fear and Faith begets faith.

 

Do not fear and continue in faith with our fathers knowing that St. Michael, the archangel, is the guardian angel and protector of the Catholic Church.

 

Some people believe we are on the cusp of the end times. Pope Leo XIII[1] by divine enlightenment was revealed the struggles of the Church against the powers of hell and it was opened to him that hell would be conquered by the intervention of God led by St. Michael the warrior angel. Pope Leo instituted the prayer of St. Michael after Mass.

 

Saint Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into Hell, Satan and all the other evil spirits, who prowl throughout the world, seeking the ruin of souls. Amen

 

Yet, do not fear the end times or the devil and his cohorts for each time you receive communion you are empowered more then they! Napoleon Hill uses an imaginary conversation with the devil in his manuscript “Outwitting the devil”[2] to enlighten us on the tactics that he uses to enslave us to sin:

Q. Tell me of the most common habits by which you control the minds of people.
        
A. That is one of my cleverest tricks: I enter the minds of people through thoughts which they believe to be their own. Those most useful to me are fear, superstition, avarice, greed, lust, revenge, anger, vanity, and plain laziness. Through one or more of these I can enter any mind, at any age, but I get my best results when I take charge of a mind while it is young, before its owner has learned how to close any of these nine doors. Then I can set up habits which keep the doors ajar forever.

In order to keep these doors closed to the devil we must develop self-control and discipline by the use of fasting and mortification.

Fasting and Mortification[3]

Modern man and the media often portray persons that fast as deranged, passé or even ignorant. However, fasting and bodily discipline are truly the marks of a man or woman of mature intellect which has mastery over not only the mind but also the body and spirit. St. Paul put it in stronger terms, “put to death therefore what is earthly in you (Col. 3:5).” Jesus has also said, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Christ knew we become attached to created things and to the pleasure they bring us. St. Augustine said that sin begins as a turning away from God and a turning toward lesser goods. When we sin, we don’t choose evil. We choose something less than God and His will. Our bodies want more than they need, so we must give them less than they want. Our bodies must be subject to our reason—or our reason will soon be subjected to our bodies. St. Paul went even further. “I pommel my body and subdue it” (1 Cor. 9:27). Nevertheless our goal should be to let our reason/soul cooperate with the Holy Spirit.

Chassidic philosophy demonstrates three ways in which the body and soul can interact:

·         The soul can try and mitigate the urges of the body. Things that look good, taste good and feel good are stimulating and addictive. Most of us live life with our body in the driver’s seat. The soul just can’t compete. And so the soul tries to negotiate reasonably, and encourages moderation.
·         Or, the soul can choose to reject the body and abhor anything associated with materialism. The soul-driven person would then rebel against society’s shallow and false veneers. Simplicity and ascetism become the ultimate goals of the soul.
·         The third scenario is not a compromise between the first two. It is an entirely new approach, where the body and soul learn to work together. The soul neither leans towards the body nor rejects it. It does not react; it pro-acts. In a proactive position, the soul directs and channels the body’s inclination in a constructive way.

In this last approach, instead of repressing the body’s needs, the soul views them as an opportunity to serve God in a whole new way. [4]

Using the third approach we should fast with a purpose like Moses or Elijah for example before going into God’s presence or to strengthen us or for the benefit of others. Jesus fasted not because He needed to, but as a model for us. We should make self-sacrifices in an effort to make others happy or out of love for our God to share in his plan of salvation. By dying to self, daily, we prepare ourselves for our own moment of death.

Some Fasting Ideas

X  Refrain from complaining, gossiping and grumbling.
X  Abstain from your favorite foods.
X  Eat 1/3 less on fast days and no more than 1/3 more on feast day.
X  Fast extra days and always must accompany increased prayer and almsgiving.
X  No animal flesh, dairy, oil, or wine-fish OK.
X  No sex.
X  Good times to fast:
o   Ember days.
o   Tuesdays or Wednesdays & Fridays.
o   Rogation Days
o   Vigils before Feasts
o   Holy Week (Mon-Sat)
o   Christmas Eve




[1] http://www.stjosephschurch.net/leoxiii.htm
[2] Sharon Lechter, Outwitting the Devil.
[3] Hahn, Scott, Signs of Life; 40 Catholic Customs and their biblical roots. Chap. 27. Fasting and Mortification.

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