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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Pope Benedict exhorts Catholics to rediscover fasting this Lent

Vatican City, Feb 3, 2009 / 11:49 am (CNA).- As Catholics around the world prepare to begin the Lenten season in just over three weeks, Pope Benedict XVI has published his Lenten Message for 2009. This year the Holy Father focuses his message on the meaning and value of fasting, emphasizing that it helps believers to prepare to do the will of God.
The message, which the Pope penned on December 11, 2008, has as its title, a verse from the Gospel of St. Matthew: "He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry."

The Holy Father traces the practice of fasting all the way back to God’s command to Adam and Eve not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Walking through salvation history, the Pope points to his Lenten message’s theme: "The true fast is thus directed to eating the 'true food', which is to do the Father's will."

Pope Benedict also acknowledges that fasting has become fashionable for people concerned with their bodily health, but he explains that for believers the primary benefit of fasting is as "a 'therapy' to heal all that prevents them from conformity to the will of God." "Denying material food, which nourishes our body," the Pope adds, "nurtures an interior disposition to listen to Christ and be fed by His saving word." (Full Story at CNA)

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