And so it begins ...
What's Fasting Got to Do with It?
by Father Dwight Longenecker
I posted a video on my blog the other day from YouTube. It was an interview with a Romanian hermit. This grizzled old warrior was asked the most important element in a successful prayer life. He looked away with watery eyes then looked at the interviewer and replied, "Purity of the body."
He understood that what we do with our bodies affects our souls and minds and what we do with our souls and minds affects our bodies. Every spiritual tradition teaches the same truth: you must have mastery over your body if you wish to have mastery over your soul.
We take it for granted that the hard work of physical self discipline is necessary for many other human endeavors. The dancer, the athlete, the actor, the musician, the politician, the businessman. All agree that for real success they must be in control of their physical appetites.
It's the same with spiritual warfare. We have to control our appetite for food, our appetite for sex, our appetite for money, our appetite for sleep, our appetite for every physical comfort. We don't practice asceticism like members of Eastern religions because we think the physical world is sinful or bad in itself, but we do so as a method of self discipline. We control the body so that the soul may open up in silence. We make ourselves hungry for food so that we might hunger and thirst for righteousness.
The devil understands that what we do with our bodies affects our souls. That is why he tempts us with physical temptations so successfully. He sees very clearly what we tend to forget: that we are not souls encased in bodies like a water in a jug. Our souls and bodies are intermingled at every level, like water in a sponge.
The devil tempts us to physical excess, and if he can get us addicted, he has our souls. The reverse is also true. If we control our physical appetites, we can deprive him of that victory and gain control not only over our bodies and our appetites, but also over him. This is what Jesus meant when he spoke about the demons, “These can only come out by prayer and fasting.”
There’s more to it: not only do we gain control over the devil in our own lives by fasting, but fasting seems to release some sort of spiritual power in the world. Through fasting we become more spiritually alert and aware and God is able to use us more effectively. Fasting makes us a lean, mean fighting machine.
So resolve to fast more. Try giving up a meal once a week to start with. Fast on bread and water if you must eat. Then start to keep Fridays as a fast day. Not just the ‘fish on Friday’ thing, but really fasting for a whole day.
You’ll be amazed how it transforms your life. You’ll be back in control. If you can control your food intake you’ll soon have better control of the other appetites in your life that are running away with your soul.
And when you’ve done that, you're on the way to cooperating with God for the salvation of souls and victory over evil in ways you could never have imagined.
[Fr. Dwight Longenecker is the author of Praying the Rosary for Inner Healing. Check out his website: www.dwightlongencker.com to read his archived articles, connect to his blog and listen to his podcast homilies]
We saw the house. It was VERY similar to this one, minus a few windows and such. I was tempted, but couldn't quite decide ... and Matt was no help since he didn't go look at it. Today it showed up "pending." Guess it wasn't meant to be.
I'm actually tempted to rent again. It's hard to justify a realtor's commissions if we're going to sell again. Who knows ... we might make it down south after all. Or we'll find out we are staying here, and then I'll look around for my acreage. I'll let you know if anything significant happens ...
Well, today we reenter the world of house hunting. We have been informed that the owners of this house want to put it on the market, and if they do not sell it they will move into it. We've known the part about them wanting to sell, but since they are going to price it HIGHER than they did last year, we figured we could take our time. Hmm ... guess not. He took a job here.
So at 4:30 we are going to look at a house down the street that is identical. Yes, I've given up on my dream of the 5 acres, for now. Five acres can't be easy to sell, so I don't want to make the mistake of buying it until we are at our final destination. Whether that will be here or in the Carolinas remains to be seen.
The house down the street is IDENTICAL to this one, except for some paint colors and the stove is in a different place. So we know it's big enough, we know and like the location, and so far no annoying kids to contend with. Yet. I know God will let us know the right move. He always does. He has always taken such good care of me. :-)
I know you don't care, but I went through the tro
1. Your spouse is sitting in front of the TV, what is on the screen?
ESPN, ESPN2, NatGeo, History Channel, Food Network (my influence)
2. Who takes longer showers, you or him?
Totally me, but I will totally know if I'm supposed to wash my hair or not. He's got systems, but he sometimes can't remember if it's hair washing day. And I'm shaving in the shower ... totally skews the results.
3. What is one food your spouse doesn't like?
4. What would your husband say is the first thing that caught his eye about you?
He saw a photo of me in a Nativity play (I was Mary) and thought I was pretty ... his sisters knew me and totally tried to talk him out of it. His sisters are some of my best friends now. :-)
5. Where did he go to high school?
Brecksville HS and St. Gertrude Academy
6. What is his shoe size?
7. If he were to collect something, what would it be?
He doesn't collect anything, really, but he could maaaaaybe be talked into collecting tennis racquets. Or cars.
8. What is his favorite type of sandwich? Does Chipotle count? OK ... corned beef and rye from Simons in Cleveland.
9. How does he take his coffee? He doesn't drink the stuff ... but I have talked him into sharing Caramel Macchiato with me.
10. What is his favorite cereal? Grape Nuts flakes, Cap'n Crunch
11. Where did he go to college? Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland State University
12. What is his favorite sports team? Pittsburgh Steelers, Ohio State (football), Cleveland Cavs
13. Where was your first date? Coffee at Perkins. Shut up, it was romantic.
14. What is something I do that he wishes I wouldn't? PMS
15. What is his heritage?
16. You bake him a cake for his birthday, what kind is it?
Angel Food cake.
17. What could he spend hours doing? Working. Playing tennis. Watching football.
18. What is one unique talent he has? He can tell you who sings just about any song, and he will recognize the song in 2 beats. Pick just about any era.
19. Where is his favorite place he has traveled? Jekyl Island, GA. or San Diego.
20. What is a clothing item he would never wear?
Sandals ...but I'm working on pool shoes. Tennis shoes and socks gets old.
This is a fascinating article, well written and such food for thought. I encourage you to read the whole article and watch all the clips.
While I was watching, I wondered ... if I were there, would I be one of the passers-by? Or would I have stopped to listen and throw in a few bucks for the pleasure? I listened to the pieces on Rhapsody, and they suit my preferences so precisely that I have a hard time thinking I would not have stopped to listen ... but who can say what they would do if they were on their way to work, late perhaps?
Makes you wonder if this is what humans look like to God when He sends beauty and blessings into their lives ... The most fascinating part was the part about kids. We have so much to learn from them.
Valentine's Day is one day that my husband can completely ignore, and I would never hold it against him. It holds no meaning for me, save for the fact that it is the feastday of a Catholic Saint.
But to continue the trend of his insanity, he came home with a present for me yesterday. He claims it was for Valentine's Day, but I suspect that he's been looking around for something since my birthday. (He doesn't always consider it necessary to buy my something on the other days either.)
Guess what I got?
A laptop!! My not-so-subtle hint worked!
I don't know that I needed it so much, except an extra computer has been considered for some time since I use mine for school. And why not a laptop? I could blog from the pool this summer. I could do Quicken on the couch as we watch Food Network at night. I could blog at the park! Life is going to be sweet this summer ...
I find that reentry into blogging after an absence is a lot like getting back on that diet once you've gone off. It's like what I imagine quitting smoking would be like, too. The first time, your resolve is good. You got that health scare or that look in the dressing room mirror to scare you straight, and you go at it with both guns ablazing. But then you go away from it for whatever reason, and getting back on that wagon is so much harder!
I have started several drafts and didn't finish, so now I'm having to resort to bullet points to catch you up. Do you mind? Consider it necessity, because sometimes one of the things that keeps me from blogging is that I'm overwhelmed with the thought of how much I should catch you all up on.
1. Our Steelers won. We cheered. We screamed. We were in disbelief. And then like so many other gratifying things in life ... in just a few days you kinda forget that it happened at all and have to admit that it really didn't impact your life that much. Oh who's kidding whom ... I'm only a fan because I love to see the kids (and Matt) all happy when the Steelers win.
2. We have Chicken Pox. We got them on purpose, and it downright exciting waiting for those little blisters. Noelle has a good case of them, and Jonny has only a few. The jury is still out on the other two.
3. I have rediscovered my love for entertaining. Lately we seem to be Party Central for our homeschool group because our house accomodates so many and because we are centrally located. It's been fun, and it's keeping my house really clean!
4. I'm so very annoyed at the media handling of the Octuplet story. I guess it just hits kinda close to home. I would not be bringing them into this world as a single mom, nor in the manner in which she has chosen to do it. Also, I think there is a reason that God does not naturally send that many babies to one woman at once under natural circumstances. HOWEVER, perfect strangers are angry with this woman for not KILLING her babies (humanely called 'selective reduction of a pregnancy'). Perfect strangers are irritated with her, even though she has insisted that she will not go on welfare. She actually seemed quite responsible to me, and quite the loving mother. Imagine the American public thinking they have a SAY in what this woman does with her body when abortion is legal. And the way the media asks the questions, with a glint in their eye and a condescending tone ... disgusting.
Many, many Americans are on welfare with fewer kids, but somehow that doesn't make the news as a personal interest story. Many, many Americans are in so much debt that they are unable to pay their mortgages, thereby putting the burden on fellow taxpayers, but somehow that doesn't make people demand they kill off their children. And if America had it's way, I'd not have many of my beautiful babies either. I didn't have them all at once, but believe me, it was FAR too close and too many to make most people comfortable.
Here's a good article on the topic.