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Fasting and Detox for Body and Soul

September 19, 2013

One of the penitential practices is fasting. While we can fast from any number of things, fasting from food is what normally comes to mind. In his September 2013 editorial in the Magnificat magazine, Fr. Peter John Cameron, O.P., writes about all three of the penitential practices: prayer, fasting and almsgiving. He says, “The purpose of fasting, comments Saint Thomas Aquinas, is both to curb the lusts of the flesh and cleanse the soul.” We fast “so that the mind may arise more freely to the contemplation of heavenly things.” We need to clear our stomach and our mind of toxic and distracting things, so that we can focus on God and all his good gifts.

On a purely secular level, many a book has been written on detoxifying the body, and one of the techniques is fasting. These books tell us that toxins build up in the body due to foods we eat, ick we breathe in from the environment, and even the body products that we slather all over our skin. All of these accumulate in the body and at some point sickness settles in.

What kind of toxins build up in the soul and where do they come from? TV provides a lot of toxic material, any aspect of media does. Pornography is toxic. There are many anti-Christianity messages being thrown about which can confuse the poorly catechized and lead them astray. The list is endless.

True wellness is a clean body and soul. Just as you will find a variety of health practitioners telling you a variety of ways to get physically well, so too will you find many different messages on spiritual wellness. As Catholics, we need to make sure that our spiritual health is in good hands. We want to rise “more freely to the contemplation of heavenly things.”

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 2, 2013 5:49 pm

    For longer fasts particularly, a protein sparing fast protects the body from loss of cellular enzymes and muscle mass. Half of the toxins found in body tissues are metabolites of the neurotransmitters of chronic stress. Be sure to help break the chronicity of spiritual stresses with frequent reconciliation!

    • catholicwideweb permalink*
      November 2, 2013 7:12 pm

      AMEN on the reconciliation!

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