Fr. Al Lauer, founder and long-time author of One Bread, One Body, often told this story about God's perspective on fasting: "A man once told God in prayer that he hated the way his priest ran the parish. God responded by telling him to fast for his priest on one meal a day for three months. At the end of the first month, the man reminded God that he had kept his fast, but God hadn't changed the priest at all. After two months, the man grumbled to God that his priest wasn't changing at all, and he was about to quit fasting since he didn't see much good from all his sufferings. Finally, three months passed. As the man was attending Mass in his parish, God reminded him that the three months were up. The man had forgotten the deadline since he had given up his fast weeks ago. God asked him how he thought his priest was doing. The man responded: "Oh, him? Father's doing just fine!"
Would you like to get a lot of priestly vocations fast? Then fast a lot for priestly vocations. Would you like someone you love to be converted? Then fast for that purpose. When the Lord sees we are regularly fasting for an intention, He'll know that our prayers are serious and that we want it enough to sacrifice for it.
Fasting gives evidence of our personal commitment. God wants to know that we are truly fasting for His sake, for what He wants. "Was it really for Me that you are fasting? Or was it not rather for yourself?" (see Zec 7:5-6) Fasting breaks bonds, sets God's will in motion (Is 58:9-14), and puts everything in "fast forward." When God's people truly hunger for His will to be done, for His Church, for holy vocations, for conversions, for an end to abortion, then they will fast (Mk 2:20).
|Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant the Imprimatur ("Permission to Publish") for One Bread, One Body covering the period from December 1, 2014 through January 31, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 30, 2014.