Monday, January 17, 2011

"Should Christians Fast?" - St. Anthony the Abbot

St. Anthony the Abbot by Francisco de Zurbarán
Prayers to Saint Antony of Egypt

O’ Glorious Saint Anthony, who upon hearing only one word of the Gospel
didst forsake the riches and the ease of thy family,
thy native land and the world,
in order to retire into the wilderness;
who, in spite of thy heavy burden of advanced age and the ravages of severe penance,
didst not hesitate to leave thy solitude to rebuke openly the impiety of heretics
and to restore wavering Christians to a firmer hold upon their faith
with all the zeal of a confessor desirous of martyrdom;
who through thy conquest of self and the excellence of thy virtues
wast endowed by Our Lord with miraculous power over animate and inanimate nature;
do thou obtain for us the grace to be ever zealous
in the cause of Christ and His Church
and to persevere even unto death in our imitation of thee,
in our belief in revealed truth,
and in our keeping of they commandments
and the counsels of the Gospel;
to the end that,
having faithfully followed in thy footsteps here on earth,
we many be enabled to become sharers in thy heavenly glory
through all the ages of eternity. Amen.

Prayer Source
The following is from Regnum Christi Daily Meditation.
Christ says that when the bridegroom is taken away, then his disciples will fast. This is his first reference in the Gospel of Mark to his coming passion. Fasting is a way of sharing in Christ’s sufferings. Fasting, sacrifices, and acts of self-denial are also means to detach ourselves from earthly goods in order to cling more firmly to Christ himself. They make us aware of how much we need God. But these ways of sharing Christ’s cross should not make us glum followers. “Some Christians give the impression that following Christ is a somber affair, or that the Christian life consists above all of dour sacrifices and boring obligations. Joyless, dreary, dull. No wonder their friends want to stay as far away from Christianity as possible!... If our friendship with Christ does not fill us with contagious enthusiasm, we’re probably being a half-hearted friend” (John Bartunek, LC, The Better Part, p. 365).
Picture source

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