Lent is a good time for us to fast
Mar 9, 2018
Lent is a good time for us to fast. There are various physical benefits to fast. There are spiritual benefits from fasting. Fasting helps us to become stronger both physically and spiritually.
Fasting is good for the body. In studies, fasting enhances the ability of nerve cells to repair DNA, it “can reduce the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease and shows significant potential for treating diabetes”, it extends lifespan and retards age related diseases, it can protect and regenerate the immune system, it “improves cognitive function, increases neurotrophic factors, increases stress resistance and reduces inflammation”, it can promote the growth of new nerve cells improving learning and memory ability, it can reduce the occurrence of epileptic seizures, it mimics changes in the brain that occur from regular exercise which increases protein production promoting the growth of neurons, and fasting just twice a week can significantly lower our risk of developing neurodegenerative disorders. There are many benefits to physical health from fasting. There are a number of ways to fast so be sure to do it right.
Another form of fasting is eating “healthy” foods because what we put into our bodies is more important than what we don’t put in them. It may take more time to prepare and eat healthy meals and it might cost more for healthy food but the extra time and money are worth it because in the long run we will spend less time and money on poor health related issues. Look at studies which show the negative health concerns associated with foods like highly processed foods, pop, white flour, white sugar, and foods which contain MSGs and high fructose corn syrup; fasting from them benefit our health so that we can better serve the Lord with our bodies, which are temples of the Holy Spirit.
We are called to fast from a spiritual perspective. When we give up something we like to eat or drink or something we like to do, like watch TV, it can help strengthen our will so that we can say no to things which give us pleasure. With a more disciplined will, when temptations come upon us, we will be more open to accept God’s grace and say no to the temptation, which usually looks appealing to us, and thus not fall into sin. Without God’s help, we will not avoid sin so fasting helps us give up our own will and allow the will of God to reign more fully in us.
Fasting also helps us to get outside of ourselves. If we are able to say no to our desires or sacrifice by not giving ourselves something, this can be a suffering which we can offer up to God in order to help ourselves and others. The suffering in fasting can help us see more clearly the effect that a lack of physical and spiritual needs have on a person and can help us grow in understanding so we are more empathetic for a person who lacks them. We can have greater solidarity with the poor and the plight of those who go without and give more to them because we have less. When someone doesn’t love us, we can better handle their rejection and help them because we are not so concerned about ourselves and what we get and deserve but rather on them and what they lack, namely, the love of God flowing from them.
We pray that God would help and guide us as we fast to improve the health of both our body and our soul so we can know, love, and serve God to the best of our ability. God bless you,
Fr. Paul Kubista