The World Faith Blog

World Faith: The Interfaith Service Network

Fasting to Deepen Spiritual Understanding 3 August , 2011

The Christian Saint John Chrysostom wrote that fasting of the body is food for the soul.

“As bodily food fattens the body, so fasting strengthens the soul. Imparting it an easy flight, it makes it able to ascend on high, to contemplate lofty things, and to put the heavenly higher than the pleasant and pleasurable things of life,” said Chrysostom, acknowledged as a Doctor of the Church.

For thousands of years, the ritual of fasting has been practiced in every major religion throughout the world for the purpose of encouraging reflection, deepening one’s faith and prompting the practitioner to face the stark reality of our humanity and mortality.

On Monday, Aug. 1, Islam’s Holy month of Ramadan commenced, and for 30 days to follow, Muslims around the world will honor this time by fasting from sunrise to sunset and engaging in prayer and reflection.

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