Our Lady, through the visionaries, has requested each of us fast strictly on bread and water every Wednesday and Friday. I'm doing it, and it's not easy.
Why am I having such a difficult time with it?
I actually found the answer while reading a book about the Medjugorje apparitions. But I'll start with the background on why I'm fasting.
Our Lady has told the Medjugorje visionaries fasting is a means of giving yourself to God and showing Him we are in control of our bodies. It's apparently important to God that we exhibit control over cravings, addictions, and the like because a separation from the things of Earth is important in our spiritual growth.
That makes perfect sense. If we can gain control over our bodies, we get more in touch with the spirit we really are and understand more closely how much we rely on God for what we have.
But I've got to tell you...I am really struggling with it.
I'm typically fine for most of the day. The nature of my job (I'm a technical support representative for an email marketing company) means I'm constantly busy all day and that the day goes by quickly. My workplace offers free Dasani bottled water and I bring bread with me to work, so it's not a big deal.
It's usually the ride home that starts to get me. We're allowed to eat as much bread as we need to, but it's not very satisfying. It becomes tougher when I'm driving home from work and see billboards showing enormous steak and cheese sandwiches or French fries. I typically cave somewhere between my Waltham, Massachusetts office and my Allston home.
But if this is something we're supposed to be doing for God, why is it so incredibly difficult? The answer, claim the visionaries, lies in the foundation we lay for ourselves in our daily lives.
In interviews in The Visions of the Children, by Janice T. Connell, the visionaries state fasting is not only difficult but practically impossible without deep prayer in preparation for it. While some fasting, such as giving up meat on Fridays, is possible without such dedication, the strict fasting Our Lady requests of us is meant to be a serious sacrifice not only for our own spiritual betterment but also for that of unbelievers, the souls in Purgatory, peace in our world, and for the sins of mankind.
These are grave concerns and, thus, require quality time with the Rosary and deep prayer in the days leading up to fasting.
It's something I will continue to work at and, for those who do achieve this sense of spirituality, something that should be rewarding not only in the depths of one's own soul but also for all of humankind.