6 July, 2015 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile






mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 02/03/2009
VATICAN
Pope: fasting against egoism, in order to learn to do the will of God
Benedict XVI's message for Lent highlights the relevance of the ascetical practice of renouncing food, which modern society considers only from the perspective of physical well-being.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Even though "true fasting" means doing the will of God, the voluntary renunciation of food is "a spiritual arm to do battle against every possible disordered attachment to ourselves," "helps the disciple of Christ to control the appetites of nature, weakened by original sin," and "is an aid to open our eyes to the situation in which so many of our brothers and sisters live," calling upon us to follow the example of the first Christian communities, which gave to the poor what had been set aside through abstinence.

The practice of fasting is the topic of Benedict XVI's message for Lent this year, entitled "Jesus fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry" (cf. Mt. 4:2), made public today. In the document, the pope observes that "In our own day, fasting seems to have lost something of its spiritual meaning, and has taken on, in a culture characterized by the search for material well-being, a therapeutic value for the care of one’s body. Fasting certainly bring benefits to physical well-being, but for believers, it is, in the first place, a 'therapy' to heal all that prevents them from conformity to the will of God." Lent can therefore be a good opportunity so that "the authentic and perennial significance of this long held practice may be rediscovered, and thus assist us to mortify our egoism and open our heart to love of God and neighbor, the first and greatest Commandment of the new Law and compendium of the entire Gospel (cf. Mt 22, 34-40). The faithful practice of fasting contributes, moreover, to conferring unity to the whole person, body and soul, helping to avoid sin and grow in intimacy with the Lord."

Benedict XVI then recalls that Sacred Scripture and Christian tradition "teach that fasting is a great help to avoid sin and all that leads to it. For this reason, the history of salvation is replete with occasions that invite fasting. In the very first pages of Sacred Scripture, the Lord commands man to abstain from partaking of the prohibited fruit." In the New Testament, "Jesus brings to light the profound motive for fasting, condemning the attitude of the Pharisees, who scrupulously observed the prescriptions of the law, but whose hearts were far from God. True fasting, as the divine Master repeats elsewhere, is rather to do the will of the Heavenly Father."

"Denying material food, which nourishes our body, nurtures an interior disposition to listen to Christ and be fed by His saving word. Through fasting and praying, we allow Him to come and satisfy the deepest hunger that we experience in the depths of our being: the hunger and thirst for God. At the same time, fasting is an aid to open our eyes to the situation in which so many of our brothers and sisters live." "By freely embracing an act of self-denial for the sake of another, we make a statement that our brother or sister in need is not a stranger. It is precisely to keep alive this welcoming and attentive attitude towards our brothers and sisters that I encourage the parishes and every other community to intensify in Lent the custom of private and communal fasts, joined to the reading of the Word of God, prayer and almsgiving."


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
01/29/2008 VATICAN
Pope: Lent, charity means giving oneself, not just giving "things"
03/09/2011 VATICAN
Pope: Lent, fasting means abstaining from evil and living the Gospel
02/06/2008 VATICAN
Pope: Lent,"an occasion to make our hope more vibrant and firm"
02/06/2008 VATICAN – ASIA
Lent: almsgiving and the gift of life
by Bernardo Cervellera
03/01/2006 VATICAN
For the Pope Lent is a time of conversion and solidarity

Editor's choices
ISLAM - MIDDLE EAST
Al Azhar and Vatican against terrorism. The ambiguity of the international community
by Bernardo CervelleraThe influential Sunni university denounces " heinous" violence of the Islamic state and demands the world defeat this group “through every possible means". Vatican: terrorism is a threat to all humanity. France claims to fight terrorism, but then sells weapons, aircraft, helicopter gunships to Saudi Arabia, which supports Islamic fundamentalism. Kuwait tolerates Salafis who support the Nusra Front and the Islamic state. Turkey against the Kurds; the United States against Iran, Russia and China.
TUNISIA - ISLAM
Tunis, stop terrorism by closing fundamentalist mosquesPresident Essebsi believes unified and global strategy needed to counter terrorism. The attack in Sousse almost simultaneous with those in France, Kuwait, Somalia. Islamic State claims responsibility.
VATICAN – ITALY
Pope in Turin tells young people to be chaste in love, go against the flow and not retire at 20In his last meeting on the first day of his visit to Turin, Francis met young people in Vittorio Square. In a Question and Answer exchange, he talked about love, friendship and loss of trust towards life. "I understand you. How many hypocrites speak of peace and sell weapons. How can one trust? By following Christ, whose act of extreme love, i.e. the Cross, saved humanity." The pontiff also looked at the horrors of the 20th century as evidence of the loss of trust towards world powers. He urged young people “not to retire at 20,” but “live, don’t just exist.”

Dossier

Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.