Fasting and Feasting

The practice of fasting or feasting at certain times and seasons as a religious rite has been accepted by many as a means of gaining grace and spiritual blessing. Medical theories advocate avoidance of some foods as health measures or to prevent obesity, and dietary opinions are given much publicity through press and radio. However, to the student of Christian Science there can be no confusion on such questions, since the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, has succinctly handled these points. In her textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," she writes (p. 220), "The belief that either fasting or feasting makes men better morally or physically is one of the fruits of 'the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,' concerning which God said, 'Thou shalt not eat of it.'"

Mere abstinence from material food accomplishes nothing in the direction of spiritualization of thought. It is only as we free ourselves from material desires, aims, and pursuits, and cultivate Godlike qualities, that we gain spiritual understanding. Isaiah counsels, "Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?" In the same chapter is given a detailed account of the fruitage to be expected from denial of materiality, and from steadfast obedience to spiritual laws.

There is no need to fast or feast in commemoration of some past event, some great deed. Nor should men spend their time in mournful contemplation and dolorous penance. The Master, Christ Jesus, had many trials; his life, however, was an example for all mankind to follow. The proofs he gave of his understanding of God can be repeated in our experience only as thought is regenerated, never through ritual. Every type of healing Jesus accomplished in substantiation of his words is possible here and now to any and all who attain in some degree conscious oneness with God. Thus what we need today is not a commemorative fast or feast, but a realization of the impersonal Christ, Truth, and its ever-availability.

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Using the Talent of Speech
August 16, 1941

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