Why I Fast Every Wednesday And Friday

Sliced spelt bread on a wooden chopping board

Written by McDonald, T.  |  Updated 18th of February 2021  

Fasting has always been apart of Christian and Jewish life.  Jesus said that people would fast when He was not with us in body and we do.   I eat only bread on Wednesday and Friday every week.  I have done this for nearly a year now after i saw a video on YouTube by a Nun called Sister Emmanuel Maillard.  

The guidelines to the fast are as follows:

  • Eat bread only
  • Drink water only
  • No fasting on feast days or if you are ill
  • No genuine medical reason for not fasting
  • Must be of fasting age 18 to 59

I can eat as much bread as i need and drink as much water as i need.  I must admit the just sticking to water is difficult and so sometimes i will have a cup of tea, but i always stick to just having bread although sometimes i will eat more of it than others. When i say just bread, i mean just bread and no butter or spread.

Why fast?

  • Spending quality time with God brings peace to our hearts and the world
  • Inviting the Holy Spirit into a special place in our hearts
  • Achieve a greater connection with God the almighty 
  • If you want to know yourself better
  • To discover your true purpose in life
God changed me a lot while i was fasting and during a fast He even made me a vegan.  Now, there is a lot of talk about the virus cumming from animals slaughtered for food in China's wet markets.

God finds a way to reach out to us

Over the course of many years, a lack of quality time with Jesus, meant i had allowed unhealthy and unclean distractions into the house through DVDs, books, games and even food etc.  As a result, i was feeling immense discomfort in my soul.   Nevertheless, God was able to reach me through circumstances.  At the beginning  of 2020 I was very ill with what is suspected to be COVID-19.  It was before anyone had really heard of it so i thought it was just the flu.  However, i became very ill to the point i needed a doctor, but i had no way of contacting the local surgery or the emergency services to ask for help.  I knew i was dying and to cut a long story short, at the peak of the illness, i saw a demon standing beside my bed.  It was trying to get me, but an Angel restrained it.  The Angel showed me how the demon got into the house and my life.  I knew to throw out anything that might be offensive to God, such as violent games, videos or books from other religions.  I also knew that i needed to make more room for the Holy Spirit in my life and not just on my bookshelves. I felt that two points were being made to me.  One, items can represent sin and rebellion towards God, but the they can also represent love and devotion to God. The second point i felt was being made was an empty house or heart is open to re-infestation. 

"[...“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it wanders through waterless regions looking for a resting place, but it finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ When it comes, it finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and live there; and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So will it be also with this evil generation.”...]"  (Matt 12:43-45)

With this in mind, i bought some pictures of Christ, the Blessed Virgin Mary and St Joseph, which i placed in the house.  I also purchased crucifixes both standing and wall ones, so that every room reflected my love for God and the Holy family.  I already had a Holy Rosary, but i began to use it again.  I began to search online for more content that i thought would be pleasing to God as a replacement for watching movies and playing video games with questionable content.  Instead of fasting, i had been letting old spiritually unclean habits creep in; nevertheless, God reached out to me and showed me the truth, so now, at long last, i was able to spend quality time with God.  This quality time was only made possible because while i was ill, i didn't eat and i prayed out of a genuine need for God; in the absence of unhealthy distractions and the fear of dying, i prayed more and felt a true spiritual awakening.  God had found away to reach me and showed me how to spend quality time with Him.

"God calls man first. Man may forget his Creator or hide far from his face; he may run after idols or accuse the deity of having abandoned him; yet the living and true God tirelessly calls each person to that mysterious encounter known as prayer. In prayer, the faithful God's initiative of love always comes first; our own first step is always a response. As God gradually reveals himself and reveals man to himself, prayer appears as a reciprocal call, a covenant drama. Through words and actions, this drama engages the heart. It unfolds throughout the whole history of salvation." (Catholic Church 2567, n.d.).

Fasting is away of making space in our hearts and souls for God

After i had started to recover, i felt a strong desire to continue with this connection to God and really invite the Holy Spirit in.  I had already been tuning into Fulton Sheen, which was both helping me find comfort and leading me closer to Jesus; thus, making me more open to His will.  However, i still needed to find away to make more space in me for the Holy Spirit, so when i heard Sr Maillard say that fasting was a way to make space for God, i listened.  I listened because i remembered how close i had felt to God while i was ill.  I also remembered not eating, but just praying during that time.  I remembered, at the time of being ill, praying seemed more important than eating, not that i wanted to eat.  Subsequently, i made the connection between my experience and what Sr Maillard had said about fasting and prayer.  I have been fasting regularly ever since.  Fasting is a simple way to create time for God.  The idea is simple: spend the time you would have been eating praying and focusing on Jesus instead. We can offer our time and give our money, but this is away of giving something of ourselves to God.  When we fast, we create a deeper connection to the Holy Trinity, which in turn allows the Holy Spirit to lead us in our thinking and ideas.  Sister Emmanuel Maillard (2020) in her video 'The Forgotten power of fasting' said, 

"...those who fast are more inspired, more lead by the Holy Spirit than those who do not fast."

We fast from food and pray the rosary instead as an offering to God.  While fasting, focus more on Jesus by praying the Holy Rosary and reading the Holy Bible.  When saying the Holy Rosary, try to focus more on the mysteries and read over some of them in an effort to gain a deeper understanding.  As a result, an expandable space opens up in us for God that becomes as necessary as any internal organ creating a more welcoming place for the Holy Spirit.  

The objective is to connect with God in a healthy way

Now a space is open, it begs to be filled, which is why the true objective of our endeavours must be an honest connection with our creator.  Allow the Holy Spirit in by making it feel welcome in our lives.  Seek a true connection and ask for true repentance.  As we throw out the things in our homes we no longer need, ask the Holy spirit to throw out those things in our hearts that are of, and never were of, any use for Him.  Furthermore, I feel it is necessary to also point out what fasting is not about such as losing weight or gaining attention from others.  Neither is it about making a deal with God.  Let me tackle these one at a time.  First, if we fast and don't pray we are just dieting.  The idea is to pray instead of eating.  Second, it is not about us; it is about Him.  In other words, we are not to brag about fasting saying hey look at me.  It is about seeking interaction with God; it is about Him and establishing a connection with Him.  Third, it is not our place to bargain with God saying if i do what you want, you do what i want.   A healthy connection to the Father is to be open to His will and not get distracted.  In this modern world, we have many distractions to keep us occupied including food.  We thing about food, we think about people, we think about games or videos or falling in love or hating and getting revenge on someone.  You might think that thinking about people is OK and it is, but are we praying for people to be happy?  What i am getting at is we find ourselves connected to people, which is good when in the right way, but we can also find ourselves connected to things and ideas, which can equally be good or unhealthy.  When we allow the Holy Spirit in, we make an honest connection to God.  Another way of looking at it is, when things go wrong, sometimes people feel angry at God.  Although this can be seen as a connection, would you say it was a healthy one?  Likewise, what if we open a dialogue with God which ends up more of a monologue because we are just making demands upon Him and never listening?  This is not a healthy connection either.  Instead, try to sense what the Eternal Father is leading you to and submit to His will.  Listening is an crucial component to the success of any relationship if a connection is to be made. 

Discover Things About Yourself You Didn't Know

While fasting, many people experience emotions such as anger or fear and maybe even resentment.  It may interest you to know,  these unwanted emotions that emerge while fasting are not the result of fasting, but are being exposed by God to you through the fasting.  For instance, if you experience fear and anxiety while fasting, this is an underlining condition that is always present even when not fasting.  It seems, rather than dealing with the unwanted emotions, people distract themselves in an effort to avoid experiencing that emotion.  For example, i don't want to feel angry so i distract myself with TV, video games or in some cases alcohol.  With this in mind, if you find that you are resentful of your wife or husband for example, you know that you have been harbouring that resentment and not dealing with it.  Maybe you realise you need to forgive someone or that you have become dependant on a type of food.  You may even change by coming to a realisation about yourself or you might discover that you have a true desire to start a project that Jesus wants you to complete that you hid away.

Find Your True Purpose

Fasting can help you discover where your place is in the Church and help you know yourself better.  For instance, while fasting i discovered God's will was for we to be a vegan and to be Catholic.  I was given recipes and ideas would spring to mind about combining food, scripture and evangelism.  When we strip away all the distractions that life has to offer and really focus in on God learning to trust Him, we find a true connection where we can find out what are purpose in life is.  With all the noise of the world drowning out the will of God it is necessary to seek our saviour and listen rather than demand.  Only when this willingness to listen arrives can we really understand our true purpose.  However, if you have a lot to work through then a longer fast maybe needed such as a novena or Lent.  In any case, fasting is away to discover your true purpose.

References 

Catholic Church (n.d.) The Catechism of the Catholic Church 2567 Available at https://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p4s1c1.htm (Accessed on 18/02/21)

'The Forgotten power of fasting' (2020) YouTube video added by Sister Emmanuel Maillard.  Available at https://youtu.be/g_FyRfrN6j4 (Accessed on 11/02/21)


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