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  #11  
Old 17th July 2008, 03:07 AM
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Sacredcello Sacredcello is offline
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Would one be well advised to have a spiritual director if one were to desire to do penance by fasting in a more rigorous way than just refraining from meat on Fridays?

I have been told that fasting could be a form of spiritual pride. However, I have undertaken several 40 day juice fasts in the past with the only side-effect being a positive one: my weight always returns to normal (though this was not the goal of the fast). I wasn't aware of being prideful and was always attending daily Mass when these fasts were undertaken and was doing works of mercy: praying for the dead by saying the divine mercy chaplet.

How does one go about finding a spiritual director? It seems our priests are already working so hard.
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  #12  
Old 17th July 2008, 03:24 AM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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It is not necessary, nor is it the norm, for lay persons to each have spiritual directors. I would recommend a spiritual director for someone with particular spiritual problems, or for someone discerning a call to the religious life or priesthood. But for the ordinary lay Catholic, I recommend the reading of books by various Saints and Blesseds, and the prayerful reading of Scripture.

Fasting can be done in many different ways. I would not particularly recommend a juice fast. The more common way of fasting is not to fast continually, but to fast regularly on Friday, or on Wednesday and Friday, or on Mon, Wed, and Friday. One can fast on bread and water, or on any kind of reduced amounts and kinds of food and drink.

It is better when fasting to emphasize the spiritual discipline, and not get caught up in thinking that the stricter fast is somehow holier. The fast done out of love for God is the holiest fast.
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  #13  
Old 17th July 2008, 05:09 AM
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Yes, this seems more reasonable and prudent to read the lives of the saints than to necessarily seek a spiritual director on matters related to penance and fasting.

We know that the Blessed Mother has urged us to fast on Wednesday and Friday on bread and water. Unfortunately, though, I have an allergy to wheat, and even the non-wheat breads have caused me some upset stomach. This is one reason for my juice fasting (with protein powder, so as not to cause a spike in blood sugar).
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  #14  
Old 17th July 2008, 11:51 AM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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fasting on bread and water is just one way; if juice and protein powder works for you, this is also fine. But I think that 40 days in a row of that fast might not be healthy (might even be dangerous to health). I think fasting one, two, or three days a week (as God's Providence and grace suggests) would be best.
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  #15  
Old 17th July 2008, 12:25 PM
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When Jesus was fasting for 40 days, did he refrain completely from food, or did he fast just on bread and water, or something similar? I have always wondered this, because at one point satan asks Jesus to turn stones into bread.
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  #16  
Old 17th July 2008, 12:50 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob View Post
When Jesus was fasting for 40 days, did he refrain completely from food, or did he fast just on bread and water, or something similar? I have always wondered this, because at one point satan asks Jesus to turn stones into bread.

He ate no food at all for 40 days. But for an ordinary Christian, without supernatural help, this type of fast (no food for 40 days) would be very dangerous to one's health. It is said that a few of the Saints were able to survive for long periods of time (even for years) on the Eucharist alone, but this is miraculous, not natural.
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  #17  
Old 18th July 2008, 08:39 AM
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Ron,
When I fast I find that I feel that I am not suffering a great deal. It seems to become more like a routine. Then is there any spiritual merit in fasting if it becomes similar to not eating because you are not hungry. I sincerely want to do some penance at least but it seems even what I do is not giving me the result I want.

jack
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  #18  
Old 18th July 2008, 11:22 AM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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It is the motivation for which we fast that gives fasting its effectiveness. We must fast out of love for God and neighbor. Also, when fasting, you should try to increase your praying as well.

There are other types of fasting besides food. One can fast from television and other entertainment, from any kind of self-indulgences, from thoughts that lead one away from God, etc.

prayer, fasting, works of mercy
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  #19  
Old 26th August 2008, 12:13 AM
Shane Shane is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Conte View Post

We can do penance in this life in three main ways:

1. prayer
2. self-denial
3. works of mercy


If one offers their daily prayers (eg. Rosary etc.) as penance, does this merit the same degree of penance as if it had been given from a Confessor?
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  #20  
Old 26th August 2008, 12:51 AM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shane View Post
If one offers their daily prayers (eg. Rosary etc.) as penance, does this merit the same degree of penance as if it had been given from a Confessor?

Yes.
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