By Fr. Michael Manos
As we enter the period of Great Lent, we are called to three spiritual disciplines in particular: fasting, almsgiving, and prayer. We are encouraged to leave certain foods behind, to give away some money, and to spend more time in dialogue with God. The question is, why?
Fasting, or abstaining from food, was a discipline practiced by our Lord himself. It was after forty days of prayer and fasting in the wilderness, that Jesus victoriously faced the temptations of the devil (Matthew 4:1-11). He asked his disciples to use fasting, coupled with prayer, as a means to achieve spiritual victories (Matthew 17:21; Mark 9:29; Luke 2:37), and the example of the Lord was followed by the disciples in their apostolic ministry and instruction to the early Christians (Acts 14:23; 27:9; 1 Corinthians 7:5; 2 Corinthians 6:5, 11:27).