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Friday, February 27, 1998

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Isaiah 58:1-9
Psalm 51
Matthew 9:14-15

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"Do you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord? This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly." —Isaiah 58:5-6

Jesus promised that His disciples would fast after He ascended to the Father (Mt 9:15). The Lord also promised that, when we fast in the right way, we will receive a wonderful freedom in which those bound unjustly are released, the thongs of the yoke are untied, the oppressed are set free, and every yoke is broken (Is 58:6). This freedom due to fasting is a catalyst from which a whole series of miracles occurs.

In this Lent, "let us therefore discover anew the humility and the courage to pray and fast so that power from on high will break down the walls of lies and deceit" (The Gospel of Life, Pope John Paul II, 100). "Jesus Himself has shown us by His own example that prayer and fasting are the first and most effective weapons against the forces of evil (cf Mt 4:1-11). As He taught His disciples, some demons cannot be driven out except in this way (cf Mk 9:29)" (The Gospel of Life, 100). To break down the walls of our "culture of death," to escape from the prisons of our secular humanistic society, and to be freed from the evil one, Pope John Paul II calls us to fast. Make this the great Lent of fasting to free us from sin and free us for the abundant life in Christ.

Prayer:  Father, free me from Satan and free me for a "civilization of love" (Pope Paul VI).

Promise:  "Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your wound shall quickly be healed." —Is 58:8

Praise:  Jesus set Sarah free from her longtime drug addiction.

Reference:  (For related teaching, order our pamphlet, "The Secret of Fasting").

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, July 26, 1997

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 29, 1997