Fasting is the practice of not ingesting, consciously and voluntarily, solid food or liquids for a certain period of time, which can sometimes be beneficial to one's health.
From a pious point of view, fasting has another connotation and its practice is used by various religious tendencies. In this sense, for Christianity, fasting is a time during which one makes the sacrifice of abstaining from food, drink and other pleasures and dedicates oneself to communing with God.
This type of fasting has the purpose of benefiting spiritual health, therefore it is recommended to accompany it with meditation and prayer to establish an optimal communication and a greater closeness with God. If possible, it is also recommended to donate food to people in need.
Diversities in fasting
The fasting should not be used as a means to get God to grant a favor; when one decides to fast it should be done to seek spiritual growth through talking freely with God and listening to His word.
Several types of fasting can occur. One of them total fasting, not recommended for physical health reasons, was possibly only brought to light in early times, as referred to in Esther 4:16 where it is ordered to gather the Jews together so that for three days they do not eat and drink, day or night.
Another type is water fasting, during which no solid food is consumed but water is allowed. Some claim that this variety was the one that made the Jesus during the 40 days prior to the passion and during the crucifixion (Luke 4: 1-2).
The third variety of fasting is perhaps the one that has had the greatest acceptance. In this case simple and little elaborated foods are eaten, eliminating some meats among these; it is recommended to eat to maintain the body's functioning. In the Bible it is said that Daniel fasted for three weeks, using this type of fasting (Daniel 10: 2-3).
Regardless of the type of fasting selected, the fundamental thing is to spend as much time as possible with God, praying directly or reading His word through the Bible, leaving aside all other activities.
Obligation or freedom to fast
As expressed in the Bible (Exodus 34: 28; Acts of the Apostles 9: 9), fasting is a beneficial spiritual behavior for believers, since it helps to strengthen the spirit by giving the opportunity to deny physical enjoyment and replace it with spiritual surrender.
In the past, in Catholicism, specific dates were established to call the population to practice fasting in an almost obligatory way; however, nowadays, there is a tendency to give the people the opportunity to practice fasting on specific dates. freedom to do so, partly because it is considered something very individual. The dates that continue to be recommended for fasting are Ash Wednesday, the day of the beginning of the Lent and every Friday of Lent.
It is known that God only recommended fasting on the so-called Day of Atonement and that it was to be accompanied by rest in order to be able to pray sincerely and deeply (Leviticus 16:29-31); during that day the entire population had to fast to purify themselves of their sins.
Subsequently, with the crucifixion of Jesus was granted the sorry of sins and by accepting this sacrifice of Jesus as true and valid, in addition to recognizing our faults, we are forgiven and spiritually healthy. This is another reason why fasting is no longer imposed, but is a personal decision to draw closer to the Lord.
Reasons for fasting
It is recognized that the fasting is an effective spiritual tool and that God wants and expects Christians to do so. Jesus Himself demonstrated, by fasting for 40 days, that it is a true practice of communion with the Supreme Being, and in both the Old and the New Testament it is a true practice. New Testament there are references to it being practiced by Moses, DavidDaniel, Elijah, Enemies and Paul the apostle, among others.
In those times people proceeded to fast to obtain God's help and guidance, to be more aware of what God wanted from them, to make the Creator see their true repentance for their sins, to recognize their spiritual imperfections and to express the need to obtain God's help and guidance. God's forgiveness.
Today, these reasons are still valid; however, as mentioned above, the conditions established by modernity have allowed certain concessions in the practice of devotions to God, making some of them more flexible.
Fasting that pleases God
The fasting that pleases God does not depend on the duration of the fast, nor on the type of food that one decides not to eat. God is pleased with the fast that is done with sincerity, without selfishness or protagonism, the one that is done with humility and true sacrifice.
Fasting that is done as an offering to the Supreme Being, with the sole motive of feeling God's presence, knowing how much He is needed for the proper conduct of our lives, that is the fasting that is pleasing before God.
Fasting must be supported by a correct and adequate behavior. Christiannot only on the day of the fast, but during the whole of our earthly life. Nothing is obtained by fasting frequently and having an attitude contrary to Christian principles.
In Isaiah 58: 7-11, mention is made of other aspects that have great significance for interpreting what fasting is in the eyes of God and that to a certain extent corresponds to the fulfillment of the so-called Works of Mercy. There it is evoked that fasting is to give food to those who are hungry, clothing to those who lack it and a roof to those who do not have it, in short, to reach out and help the most needy neighbor.
In this way, the characteristics of fasting that is pleasing to God and that is to be assisted by deeds of justice and love for one's fellow men are pointed out. With this we obtain with certainty, the health spiritual self-help and helps to health care of others by helping them to meet the Lord.
It is important to emphasize that in view of the above, it should be kept in mind that it is displeasing to God when fasting is done to prove to humans that the one who fasts is just and right, when it is done to make a good impression, if it is done to fulfill a religious requirement, or when it is done to seek forgiveness of sins without having the firm and true repentance.