1. Benedicts XVI’s Lenten Message

  • Issued 11 December 2008

    • Three penitential practices based on Sacred Scriptures and Christian traditions: prayer, almsgiving and fasting.

    • Pope’s 2009 Lenten Message focused on fasting.

    • Fasting is designed “to prepare us to better celebrate Easter. Christ’s 40 days fast was to prepare Himself for his public mission”.

    • Fasting’s value and meaning. It is “ a great help to avoid sin” and occasions of sins. It is “an instrument to restore friendship with God” (Gal. 8:21). The motive for fasting is to do God’s will( cf. Mt. 4:4; Jh. 4:34).

    • Early Christians practiced fasting (cf. Acts 13:3; 14:22; 27:21; 2 Cor. 6:5).

    • “The Church Fathers, too, speak of the force of fasting to bridle sin, especially the lusts of the ‘old Adam’, and open in the heart of the believer a path to God”.

    • Fasting was practiced and recommended by saints. St. Peter Chrysologus writes: “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 ears to others, you open God’s ear to yourself” (Sermo 43: PL 52, 320.322).

    • “In our own day, fasting …has taken on a therapeutic value for the care of one’s body”.

    • “Fasting certainly brings benefits to physical well-being, but for believers, it is, in the first place, a ‘therapy’ to heal all that prevents them from conformity to the will of God”.

    • Paul VI presents fasting within the call of every Christian to “no longer live for himself but for Him who loves him and gave himself for him…he will also have to live for his brethren” (Poenitemini, 1966, cf. Ch. 1).

    • Fasting opens our eyes to our brothers and sisters in need and helps us assist them (cf. 1 Jh. 3:17).

    • “The faithful practice of fasting contributes…to conferring unity to the whole person, body and soul, helping to avoid sin and grow in intimacy with the Lord.

Source: Communication from the Bishop (No. 521, 23 February 2008)

About bishopdinualdo

Bishop Dinualdo D. Gutierrez is the Bishop of the Diocese of Marbel
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