Fasting Averts Disasters

Pope St. Leo the Great ca. 400-461

Of what avail, dearly-beloved, are religious fasts in winning the mercy of God, and in renewing the fortunes of human frailty, we know from the statements of the holy Prophets, who proclaim that justice of God, Whose vengeance the people of Israel had again and again incurred through their iniquities, cannot be appeased save by fasting. Thus it is that the Prophet Joel warns them, saying, Thus says the Lord your God, turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning, and rend your hearts and not your garments, and turn to the Lord your God, for He is merciful and patient, and of great kindness, and very merciful , and again, sanctify a fast, proclaim a healing, assemble the people, sanctify the church. (Joel 2:12-16) And this exhortation must in our days also be obeyed, because these healing remedies must of necessity be proclaimed by us too, in order that in the observance of the ancient sanctification Christian devotion may gain what Jewish transgression lost. (Sermon 88)

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