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What does fasting mean? (Chap. 4, vers. 2)

And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred

Many people think it’s a real fast – Jesus didn’t eat for forty days. Fasting practices were very much in vogue in his time, just like today. Fasting is a highly recommended practice to restore the physical and spiritual equilibrium. But if the gospel is a book that speaks to everyone – a universal book – in the fast of Jesus, one must recognize every kind of voluntary deprivation and with a precise goal.

Many people think that fasting means that you have to avoid sins. This is right for people which actions are highly detrimental to their dignity and that of others (this is the real sin). Often sin is confused with transgression, with the constant overcoming of our limits, to discover new things. In this way nobody can fast from transgression because it would mean to be no more human beings.

Each of us knows what is the better fasting. Each of us knows what is needed. However each kind of fasting has a term that is called hunger. In fact, all that damages inner growth becomes, over time, a habit. Habit is something of consolidated that – if left abandoned – you will miss it. The solutions are two. You can surrender eating something, i.e. you can return to the old road. Otherwise you can enter into a period of harsh confrontation with the most hidden and often obscure instances of ourselves.

You have to make a choice that cannot be postponed. Will you open the fridge? Will you open the window on new and exciting views that are still wrapped in the fog?

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Simone Venturini

Writer and Researcher at Vatican Secret Archives, Professor of Bible at Pontifical University of the Holy Cross od Rome

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