"Fasting cleanses the soul, raises the mind, subjects one's flesh to the spirit, renders the heart contrite and humble scatters the clouds of concupiscence, quenches the fire of lust, kindles the true light of chastity." ~St. Augustine
Today's Gospel, Our Blessed Lord is confronted with the question of fasting. I'm sure most of us can recall a parent or a catechist instructing you on the rules of fasting. Most of the time, the conversation ends there. A rule without a reason carries little weight.
Jesus refers to himself as the bridegroom, making us, the church, the bride. The wedding analogy is a common one in both the Old and New Testament. It was an institution as timeless as language. Jesus' parables may take a second read, but they never are intended to confuse us.
We fast now, especially during Lent, not as a punishment, but because our bridegroom is not with us. We journey to Easter and the celebration of the Resurrection as if we were a bride counting down the days to her wedding.
The preparation is tedious, it attacks the physical, emotional, and spiritual health of the bride. It requires true dedication to prepare for marriage, something any married couple can attest too. It's the reason the church requires a certain period of time between engagement and marriage. It isn't just to wait for venues and DJ's to be available.
So as we continue to prepare for our wedding feast, the day we are reunited with Christ at the banquet feast in heaven, take time to intentionally fast. Put yourself in a vulnerable state to grow in temporance and patience. Allow the voice of God to speak to you. Long to see him again, when the reward will be as sweet as fresh wine, just like at your wedding reception.