fasting

Lenten Fasting and the Barren Fig Tree

Photography © by Andy Coan

Is Lent about fasting or feasting? Maybe the two are related, says this commentary on the story of the barren fig tree from the gospel of Luke chapter 13. Prayer. Fasting. Almsgiving. Three inter-related fertilizers which help barren fig trees bear fruit. The Mass readings for the Third Sunday of Lent (Year C) — Exodus 3:1-8, 13-15; Psalms 103:1-2, 3-4, […]

Suffering Transfigured

"The Transfiguration (detail)" by Raphael

The love in which God embraces each of us is one of the great truths revealed to us throughout salvation history, but especially through and in Jesus Christ. To come to a better and deeper understanding of this love, we are continually invited by God into a deeper communion of prayer with Him… to come to know Him as He […]

Why Do Catholics Abstain from Meat on Fridays and Fast?

"Christ in the Desert (detail)" by Ivan Kramskoy

Our bookstores are filled with books written to help us advance in prayer and the spiritual life. The “secret” we all look for is really no secret at all.  At its heart, the gospel message is one of self-denial and detachment from all things that are obstacles to our growth.  Jesus tells us that if we are to be his […]

What Does the Bible Teach About Fasting?

"Into the Wild" © by Jef Murray—(Click sketch for artist's gallery.)

Lent is fast approaching, so I thought we should revisit self-denial. Fasting and other forms of self-denial, as spiritual practices of materially subduing and controlling the physical appetites of the body, help us, by God’s grace, to enable the soul to more perfectly and freely pray.  This leads to a deeper union with God and thus we become better stewards of the […]

Daily Reflection — Christ Shows the Way to Humility

“Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:12) Jesus is not just humble, he is humility. Jesus is not transcended by his qualities or attributes, he is those attributes. Jesus is not simply truthful, he is truth itself! His teaching on humility is not just words spoken, it is the life he lived […]

Daily Reflection — A Generous and Understanding Heart

“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back. Why do you see […]

Daily Reflection — From the Heart

“This day the Lord your God commands you to do these statutes and ordinances; you shall therefore be careful to do them with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 26:16) God has loved and blessed us. Each of us has been placed in this life as pilgrims on a journey. The gift of Salvation is freely offered. […]

Daily Reflection — Out of the Depths

“Out of the depths I cry to thee, O Lord! Lord, hear my voice! Let thy ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications! If thou, O Lord, shouldst mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.” (Psalm 130:1-4). Lent is a time to start again; to take stock of […]

Daily Reflection — Made for a Purpose

“O God, who have taught us to chasten our bodies for the healing of our souls, enable us, we pray, to abstain from all sins, and to strengthen our hearts to carry out your loving commands…” (Collect, Monday of the Second Week of Lent). We are not accidents of nature, we are made deliberately and designed for a purpose. One of the first […]

Daily Reflection — God’s Visitation

When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah became a sign to the men of Nin′eveh, so will the Son of man be to this generation. The queen of the South will arise […]