“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.  But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

-Matthew 6:16-18

The ancient spiritual discipline of fasting is part of many world religions and cultures. There is a long-standing Christian practice of fasting prior to receiving communion each week. This may help you understand how the "early" service became popular! Other short periodic fasting helps accentuate the significance of the sacraments, prayer and God.  

Longer fasts are common in Lent. Sometimes we commit to fasting from a particular food or act for a longer period of time to remind us of what matters most. Others fast from food for days at a time. While this is not possible for some, and hard for all of us to motivate ourselves to do it, it can be quite rewarding. Perhaps you fast already. If so, I hope you will consider sharing the experience with others.  

Several years ago, prior to our arrival at Ascension, Sarah led a youth group on a 30-Hour Fast. The fast began upon arrival for a weekend retreat on Friday evening and was broken late on Saturday evening. Some were reluctant to sign up for this retreat, even the adults, when considering how cranky some teenagers get without food. I believe all found the experience rewarding. Even a fast of this length drew our physical awareness to God. 

Each of us can benefit from the spiritual discipline of fasting. I do hope you will consider it and be deliberate, consulting your doctor if you are unsure. 

Blessings - 

Fr. Paul