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Tuesday, June 16, 1998

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1 Kings 21:17-29
Psalm 51
Matthew 5:43-48

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fast, faster, fastest

"He fasted, slept in the sackcloth, and went about subdued. Then the Lord said to Elijah the Tishbite, 'Have you seen that Ahab has humbled himself before Me?' " —1 Kings 21:27-29

Yesterday we read that Jezebel proclaimed a fast and used this as part of a scheme to unjustly execute Naboth (1 Kgs 21:9). Today we read that King Ahab, Jezebel's husband, fasted and asked the Lord for mercy. The Lord accepted Ahab's fasting and delayed the punishment for Ahab's family till the next generation (1 Kgs 21:29). Tomorrow we will read that our heavenly Father will repay us for fasting with the right intention (Mt 6:18).

The Lord in His word for these daily Eucharists is obviously calling us to fast, that is, to limit our intake of food in order to build His kingdom. Pope John Paul II has taught: "Jesus Himself has shown us by His own example that prayer and fasting are the first and most effective weapons against the forces of evil (cf Mt 4:1-11). As He taught His disciples, some demons cannot be driven out except in this way (cf Mk 9:29). Let us therefore discover anew the humility and the courage to pray and fast so that power from on high will break down the walls of lies and deceit" (The Gospel of Life, 100). We are greatly privileged to have been chosen by God to fast.

To begin regular fasting, eat only one full meal on Fridays. The Lord will probably extend and change this first step in fasting. Let Him lead you to the full glory and power of fasting.

Prayer:  Father, thank You for choosing me to fast. May I be faithful.

Promise:  "My command to you is: love your enemies, pray for your persecutors. This will prove that you are sons of your heavenly Father, for His sun rises on the bad and the good, He rains on the just and the unjust." —Mt 5:44-45

Praise:  Beverly has fasted on Fridays now for five years.

Reference:  (For related teaching, order our pamphlet, The Secret of Fasting.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, November 29, 1997

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 2, 1997