Monday, February 23, 2009

The spiritual discipline of fasting

I continually find interesting things in unexpected places, like this post by Pastor Mark Driscoll on his blog, The Resurgence, Spiritual Disciplines: Fasting. I recommend reading it before Ash Wednesday.

Over the life of this blog, I have posted extensively on fasting, which is in danger of becoming a forgotten spiritual discipline, at least among Catholics. I find it oddly encouraging that many Evangelicals are discovering first-hand the fruits of the spiritual disciplines, the disciplines that we, as disciples, have received from our Master, Jesus Christ. I don't mind sharing that I first became serious about fasting after reading Richard Foster's timeless classic, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth. Foster is a Quaker.

I will post something more on Lent tomorrow. Let's not forget up-front that Lent is not some generically spiritual time. The origins of Lent in the Christian tradition are bound up with the final stage of preparation for adults who are in the process of being initiated into the church. Stated more clearly, it is a time to intensify prayer, fasting, and charity as ways of drawing closer to Jesus Christ, as ways of imitating Him. To wit: the disciplines are means to an end, the only end that matters in the end, friendship with Jesus Christ, and not ends in and of themselves.

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