Ash Wednesday – 22 February – Our Lenten Journey Begins with St Francis de Sales – Joel 2:12-19, Matthew 6:16-21 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“Return to Me with all your heart,
with fasting and weeping and mourning;
rend your hearts, not your garments
and return to the Lord, your God.”
“But you, when you fast,
anoint your head and wash your face,
so that you may not be seen fasting by men …”
ON FASTING 1
St Francis de Sales (1567-1622)
“THESE FIRST FOUR DAYS of the holy season of Lent serve as a preface to indicate the preparation which we ought to make, in order to spend Lent well and to dispose ourselves to fast well. … It will be very helpful to state clearly, what must be done to fast well these forty days. … Now, among all the conditions required for fasting well, I will select three principal ones …
THE FIRST CONDITION is that we must fast with our whole heart, that is to say, willingly, whole-heartedly universally and entirely. If I recount St Bernard’s words regarding fasting, you will know, not only why it is instituted but also, how it ought to be kept.
He says that fasting was instituted by Our Lord, as a remedy for our mouth, for our gourmandising and for our gluttony. Since sin entered the world through the mouth, the mouth must do penance by being deprived of foods prohibited and forbidden by the Church, abstaining from them for the space of forty days. But this glorious Saint adds that, as it is not our mouth alone which has sinned but also all our other senses, our fast must be general, entire, that is, all the members of our body must fast. For if we have offended God through the eyes, through the ears, through the tongue and through our other senses, why should we not make them fast as well? And not only must we make the bodily senses fast but also the soul’s powers and passions – yes, even the understanding, the memory and the will, since we have sinned through both the body and spirit.” – (Excerpt from the Sermon given for Ash Wednesday on 9 February 1622).