Monday, November 14, 2011

You want me to fast NOW?

Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast?”  And Jesus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them?  But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast (Mt 9:14-15).

We Christians are not yet totally united with the Bridegroom, Jesus, so we fast.  We fast, in one sense, as an expression of the hungering of our souls for union with Him.  Even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our bodies (Rom 8:23).  Fasting should stir up this groan—this longing—for heaven; not just a heaven of “eternal rest,” but for the eternal explosion of joy that is union with the God of infinite love.

The Church invites us to fast for forty days before the Nativity of Our Lord. This period of time, beginning on November 15 each year, is called the Nativity Fast, or the “Philip’s Fast” (because it begins after vespers on the feast of the Apostle Philip). During these forty days, we fast because we are waiting for Christ’s coming—liturgically, in anticipation of our yearly celebration of His Nativity, and literally, in anticipation of His second coming.  The Nativity is the beginning of God’s union with mankind.  At that very specific point in time, the creator of the universe united Himself with human flesh.  The One who had always been, became man!  “And man is not left alone to attempt, in a thousand often frustrated ways, an impossible ascent to heaven…The Word became flesh, like us in everything except sin.  He pours divinity into the sick heart of humanity, and imbuing it with the Father’s Spirit enables it to become God through grace” (Blessed John Paul II, Orientale Lumen, 15).

Fasting shouldn’t be gloomy.  We are preparing in joyful anticipation for the Wedding Banquet of heaven!  We shouldn’t judge those who use feasting as their way to anticipate the celebration of the Nativity (perhaps God is using this type of joy to lead them to Him), but we shouldn’t be afraid to share with them the concept of fasting as a way of preparing for this feast.  Let’s try to share the indescribable joy we experience in celebrating the Nativity after a season of fasting.  And if we haven’t experience this joy, let’s fast more intensely, laying ourselves aside and surrendering our will and our desires so that we can welcome the God of the universe into the humble manger of our hearts.  He wants to unite Himself to us.  He wants us to be ready for the Wedding Feast!


  1. very nice! We are preparing for the fast (one must fast before one feasts, no?)

  2. It's about time! I'm definitely in need of some fasting. I hope your prayers and efforts this Advent bring you ever closer to the Lord.

    Come, O Jesus! <3


Leave us a comment!