THE BENEFITS OF FASTING
No, the primary benefits wouldn’t include losing weight, although that may happen. Fasting for a Catholic has a spiritual meaning and not merely bodily. Fasting is encouraged by coaches for physical benefits. Of course, spiritual gurus of different faiths offer this as a practice as well. Yet, we Catholics have encouraged this for 2,000 years and in the faith of Israel is was practiced before always as a means to grow closer to God. Moreover God asks that we do it at certain times as it recounts in the scriptures (e.g. Dt 4:4).
Here, I would like to say what it does for us. The spiritual benefits are manifold and these are a few of the main benefits.
Frees the mind to contemplate heavenly things.
Atones for our sins.
Curbs our passions which rebel if fed too much.
Humbles us which is always good for the soul. When we are humbled we are able to receive more.
Humility is recognizing our need for God.
I encourage you to fast as often as you feel inspired to do it. The Church only has us fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Fri- day (of course the Eucharistic fast of an hour prior to Communion also always applies) do it for a prayer intention. My par- ents have fasted for us, their children, at times when things were tough. Fast as an offering to God and ask him to be with you and to take care of your difficulties, He will.
Have a blessed week!
In Christ, Fr. Anthony