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Saturday, February 16, 2013

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Isaiah 58:9-14
Psalm 86:1-6
Luke 5:27-32

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fast renewal

" 'Repairer of the breach,' they shall call you, 'Restorer of ruined homesteads.' " —Isaiah 58:12

One of God's goals this Lent is to renew the Church. "The ancient ruins shall be rebuilt for your sake, and the foundations from ages past you shall raise up" (Is 58:12). A prerequisite for Church renewal is a renewal of our individual strength (Is 58:11). For individual renewal, we need to receive enlightenment, guidance, and nourishment (Is 58:10-11). Receiving these special gifts is based on removing from our midst "oppression, false accusation, and malicious speech" and on giving our bread to the hungry (Is 58:9-10).

Such expressions of justice are in turn based on obeying other commands of the Lord, especially His command to fast. The renewal of the Church results from a long process. Fasting is a catalyst for this process. Therefore, fasting is one of the most important things we can do to begin renewing the Church.

If we imitate Jesus as He fasted forty days in the desert, this Lent will be a great opportunity to serve the Church. By fasting, we set free the oppressed (Is 58:6), drive out demons (Mt 17:21), inaugurate ministries (Lk 4:1ff; Acts 13:3), and appoint leaders (Acts 14:23). By faithful fasting this Lent, some of us may make the greatest contribution of our lives to the renewal of the Church. Cherish this Lenten fast.

Prayer:  Father, give me the grace to fast more frequently and faithfully.

Promise:  "I have not come to invite the self- righteous to a change of heart, but sinners." —Lk 5:32

Praise:  During Lent, Jan returned to the Church after an absence of many years. She made a full Confession on Holy Saturday, and celebrated Easter by receiving Jesus in the Eucharist.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
(For related teaching, order our leaflet The Secret of Fasting or on audio AV 46-1 or video V-46.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, September 13, 2012

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