Open your mind and heart and discover how the sacred art of
fasting can strengthen your spiritual appetite
Fasting as a religious act increases our sensitivity to that mystery always and everywhere present to us…. It is an invitation to awareness, a call to compassion for the needy, a cry of distress, and a song of joy. It is a discipline of self-restraint, a ritual of purification, and a sanctuary for offerings of atonement. It is a wellspring for the spiritually dry, a compass for the spiritually lost, and inner nourishment for the spiritually hungry.
—from chapter 9
Though fasting is practiced in some form by nearly every faith tradition throughout the world, it is often seen as scary or something only for monastic life. But fasting doesn’t have to be intimidating. And it doesn’t have to mean going weeks without food.
The Sacred Art of Fasting invites you to explore the practical approaches, spiritual motivations, and physical benefits of this ancient practice by looking at the ways it is observed in several faith traditions. Inspiring personal reflections, helpful advice, and encouragement from people who practice fasting answer your questions, allay your fears, and reveal how you too can safely incorporate fasting into your spiritual life.
About the Author
Rev. Thomas Ryan, CSP, is a Catholic priest and member of the Paulist Fathers. He coordinates ecumenical and interreligious relations for the Paulist community in the United States and Canada. The author of twelve books, his works include The Sacred Art of Fasting: Preparing to Practice (SkyLight Paths); Interreligious Prayer: A Christian Guide; Four Steps to Spiritual Freedom; and the DVD Yoga Prayer. He lives in Washington, DC.
Rev. Thomas Ryan, CSP, is available to speak on the following topics:
- Fasting: A Fresh Look
- Challenge and Inspiration from Other Religions
- The Ecumenical Gift Exchange: What Do the Churches Have to Offer One Another for Their Mutual Enrichment?
- Soul Fire: Accessing Your Creativity
- Remember to Live: Embracing the Second Half of Life
Table of Contents
1. In Search of Fasting as a Spiritual Practice
2. Judaism: Purification, Mourning, Atonement
3. Christianity: Mystical Longing, Liberation through Discipline, Work of Justice
4. Islam: Allah-Consciousness, Self-Restraint, Social Solidarity
5. Hinduism: Purity, Respect, Penance
6. Buddhism: Purity of Body, Clarity of Mind, Moderation
7. Latter-day Saints: Offerings for Those in Want, Strengthening in the Faith
8. What Makes Fasting a Sacred Art?
9. Preparing to Practice