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Secrets of the Saints: The Forgotten Spiritual Power of Fasting

Secrets of the Saints: The Forgotten Spiritual Power of Fasting

Caroline Perkins, ChurchPOP

 

“Penance without fasting is useless and vain; by fasting [we] satisfy God.”

 

Fasting is a pillar of the Lenten season and a powerful spiritual discipline recommended by Our Lord Jesus Christ in scripture. Many saints also practiced it!

Fasting, or the intentional abstinence of food for a period of time, is hugely counter-cultural.

In a culture where physical pleasure is the highest good, why intentionally withhold something as good, satisfying, and necessary as food?

The fact that we need food is precisely why fasting is so powerful.

Temporarily withholding something so necessary forces us to focus on spiritual things that are even more important.

As Christ says in Scripture, “One does not live on bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matt. 4:4)

 

Here are nine quotes from the saints about why fasting is such an important spiritual practice:

 

 

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Caroline Perkins, ChurchPOP
 
 catholic saints list, saints catholic, lent meaning, lent is a season of, fasting meals, fasting benefits, fasting and prayer
Caroline Perkins, ChurchPOP

 

Saint Augustine

“Fasting cleanses the soul, raises the mind, subjects one’s flesh to the spirit, renders the heart contrite and humble, scatters the clouds of concupiscence, quenches the fire of lust, and kindles the true light of chastity. Enter again into yourself.”

“Fasting and almsgiving are ‘the two wings of prayer’ which enable it to gain momentum and more easily reach even to God.”

 

 catholic saints list, saints catholic, lent meaning, lent is a season of, fasting benefits, fasting and prayer
Caroline Perkins, ChurchPOP

 

Saint Peter Chrysologus

“Fasting is the soul of prayer, mercy is the lifeblood of fasting. So if you pray, fast; if you fast, show mercy; if you want your petition to be heard, hear the petition of others. If you do not close your ear to others, you open God’s ear to yourself.”

 

 catholic saints list, saints catholic, lent meaning, lent is a season of, fasting benefits, fasting and prayer
Caroline Perkins, ChurchPOP

 

Saint John Chrysostom

“Fasting is the support of our soul: it gives us wings to ascend on high, and to enjoy the highest contemplation! […] God, like an indulgent father, offers us a cure by fasting.”

 

 catholic saints list, saints catholic, lent meaning, lent is a season of, fasting benefits, fasting and prayer
Caroline Perkins, ChurchPOP

 

Saint Francis De Sales

“Besides the ordinary effect of fasting in raising the mind, subduing the flesh, confirming goodness, and obtaining a heavenly reward, it is also a great matter to be able to control greediness, and to keep the sensual appetites and the whole body subject to the law of the Spirit; and although we may be able to do but little, the enemy nevertheless stands more in awe of those whom he knows can fast.”

 

 catholic saints list, saints catholic, lent meaning, lent is a season of, fasting benefits, fasting and prayer
Caroline Perkins, ChurchPOP

 

Saint Catherine of Siena

“Without mortifying the taste, it is impossible to preserve innocence, since it was by the indulgence of his appetite that Adam fell.”

 

 catholic saints list, saints catholic, lent meaning, lent is a season of, fasting benefits, fasting and prayer
Caroline Perkins, ChurchPOP

 

Saint Basil

“Penance without fasting is useless and vain; by fasting [we] satisfy God.”

 

 catholic saints list, saints catholic, lent meaning, lent is a season of, fasting benefits, fasting and prayer
Caroline Perkins, ChurchPOP

 

 catholic saints list, saints catholic, lent meaning, lent is a season of, fasting benefits, fasting and prayer
Caroline Perkins, ChurchPOP

 

Saint Thomas Aquinas

“Properly speaking fasting consists in abstaining from food, but speaking metaphorically it denotes abstinence from anything harmful, and such especially is sin.”

“Fasting cleanses the soul, raises the mind, subjects one’s flesh to the spirit, renders the heart contrite and humble, scatters the clouds of concupiscence, quenches the fire of lust, kindles the true light of chastity.”

 

What do you think about these quotes?

 

 

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