"When the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast." —Jonah 3:5
The 120,000 citizens of the bloody city, Nineveh (see Na 3:1), repented, fasted, and were saved from destruction (Jon 3:10). After fasting, the army of Judas Maccabeus was saved from what appeared to be certain death (1 Mc 3:17ff). Likewise, after fasting, Jehoshaphat's army was saved from destruction (2 Chr 20:2ff). After Esther, Mordecai, and the Jewish people fasted (Est 4:16), they were saved from ethnic cleansing.
Jesus, our Savior, has saved us through His death on the cross. The Lord has called us to accept our salvation in several different ways, especially by our fasting. The Church directs us that in Lent the Lord wants us to imitate His forty-day fast and thereby accept Him as our Savior. On the first day of Lent, the Church proclaimed: "Now is the day of salvation!" (2 Cor 6:2) The Lord has decided to make the day of accepting our salvation to be the season of fasting. So this Lent, let us fast as an act of faith, for we are saved by grace through faith (Eph 2:8).
Prayer: Father, may this forty-day Lenten fast prepare me for the greatest act of faith in my life, the renewal of my baptismal promises on Easter Vigil or Easter Sunday.
Promise: "At the preaching of Jonah they reformed, but you have a greater than Jonah here." —Lk 11:32
Praise: Sacrificing a few meals helped Barbara make greater sacrifices.
Reference: (For related teaching, order our leaflet The Secret of Fasting or on audio AV 46-1 or video V-46.)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, August 1, 2002
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 7, 2002