TOTUS TUUS, MARIA!

TRUE FASTING, A PATH LEADING OUT OF THE DARKNESS

Lent appeal by the Mistress of all souls

through Myriam van Nazareth

In most human souls' minds fasting is about a periodical restriction of satisfying certain physical needs, primarily needs related to the use of food in quantities exceeding that which is vital to remain alive. The fact man will associate fasting mainly – if not exclusively – with material life (life in a physical body) is due to the fact our world tends to stress the material elements of life and that it is often overlooked that man is not a body but has got a body, and that the essence of man's being is his soul.

Annual fasting when winter was drawing to an end used to be based mainly on a necessity, on account of a relative food shortage during the season in which agriculture and horticulture were yielding ever less fruits. This has changed to a great extent in proportion as modern societies developed a global economic system enabling the importation of foods from regions where it is summer while in our parts it is winter.

The Christian way of thinking has been keeping a spiritual motivation alive as far as fasting is concerned: Food shortages in winter were made use of to train the soul in practising moderation, so as to help her focus her inner life on those elements of life which did not bear relation to the satisfaction of material needs (and the many pseudo needs of physical life!). Now the Mistress of all souls is inviting the souls to deepen their inner dispositions so as to find back, in the very depths of their hearts, the true nature their Creator endowed them with.

Physical fasting is linked with an endeavour to cleanse the body of all waste which has been accumulating in its tissues on account of the many influences of living in the world. Every bit as important, though, and infinitely more important with a view to Eternal Life and the soul's true destination, is a thorough purification of the soul. The Mother of God points to the pressing necessity of the soul cleansing herself uninterruptedly of all influences which living in the world has been sowing inside of her like ill weeds among the corn. This cleansing is tantamount to a fasting of the heart, the mind, the desires and aspirations experienced by the soul.

Basically, fasting of the soul must never be interrupted, for every soul is expected to flourish incessantly and increasingly, and the influences sowed into the soul by all and any dispositions of worldly life affect our spiritual bloom in the way a slow poison does. Man does not know the day when his Creator is going to call him back. On that day he will be expected to have accomplished the mission for which his soul was sent into the world. Every soul has got a mission to fulfil within the framework of accomplishing God's Plan of Salvation for all creation. Thus all souls without exception are tools through which God keeps trying to accomplish His Plans and Works on earth. The world has been developing quite differently from God's original intention, due to the fact countless souls are not doing God's Works: Their behaviour and their inner dispositions are not guided by inspirations from the Holy Spirit, but rather by those from the darkness. This is the only reason why this world is the way we see it in our days: a place of misery and innumerable wrongs and injustices. This is not God's doing, it is the bitter fruit of sin. All of this has brought standards and examples into this world which do not at all fit in with God's original intentions, and all of this, together with the direct inspirations from the darkness in each individual soul, keeps defiling every soul and allows her to sow ever more ill weeds into creation through her inner dispositions and every element of her behaviour.

Fasting of the soul is therefore nothing short of pulling up these ill weeds through which the darkness keeps distorting creation as well as the blooming of every individual soul on her path towards sanctification. Fasting of the soul is a voluntary, purposefully, actively pursued detachment of all materialistic inclinations and of all traces left behind by worldly life on all levels of life inside the soul to act like ill weeds overrunning the corn (= the fruits of Divine Life, the Life which generates Salvation for the soul herself and for creation as a whole).

These ill weeds must constantly be removed from the garden of the soul's inner life in order that the soul might be able to fruitfully accomplish her true mission in life, her vocation as a tool in God's hand. There is no other way leading to the full bloom as a soul, to Eternal Bliss for the soul, and to a world filled with Love and without any misery.

What exactly does fasting of the soul consist of?

Fasting of the soul is a constant purification of anything contained in the soul that is not a bearer of Divine Light. In concrete terms this means: anything which is not a bearer of true Love and is not able to make a positive contribution to the accomplishment of God's Plans and Works for the benefit of creation nor to the soul's own sanctification (meaning: the accomplishment of her capacity as a being living in the image of God). Fasting of the soul is a voluntary, persistent eradication of all elements of darkness in the way in which the soul usually thinks, feels, desires and aspires, and a replacement of such elements by dispositions of Light and Love.

Therefore, fasting of the soul is a matter of abstaining from everything the soul has been ingesting from the dispositions of the world (negative ways of thinking and feeling, jealousy, selfishness, lack of Love, greed, hedonism, vengefulness, resentment, inner restlessness and discontent, lack of confidence in God's doings for the benefit of creation and on the soul's individual path through life, addiction to all kinds of things that separate the soul from God and make her take root in worldly dispositions ever more deeply) and replacing all of this by true self-denying Love for all fellow creatures and for Gods Decrees, and by everything that is able to make true Love in her bloom (brightfulness, softness, sincere acceptance of the trials of life, determined choices in favour of everything that is able to promote her sanctification, sensitivity and tactfulness, forgiveness, a deep empathy with all fellow creatures and therefore an uninhibited sense of serving and willingness to help all fellow creatures).

True fasting creates an increasingly solid base of purity in the soul. Several years ago already the Mother of God defined 'purity' as the extent to which a soul is a mirror of God's Will in all her actions, words, thoughts, feelings, desires and aspirations and to which she is devoid of the elements of worldly life which prevent her from living in the image of God. True fasting reinforces the soul's resistance to worldly influences and decreases her susceptibility to being tempted into deviating from God's Law of Love. This is due to the fact fasting gradually weakens the traces left behind in the soul by the original sin. This results in the soul being transformed innerly. The Saviour's Mother was given to the souls in Her capacity as the Mistress of all souls in order that Her guiding them in their inner transformation may lead them back to a state which resembles as closely as possible the state the human soul was in prior to committing the original sin.

As the human soul's spiritual bloom is a process which must be maintained and tailored for the entire duration of man's life it is inappropriate to reserve specific points of time for the practice of true fasting. The soul is reminded of fasting during the forty days of Lent specifically because this is the time that coincides with the time during which Jesus completed His most holy mission on earth and topped it off in His Passion, the Sufferings which were to open up once and for all the Redemption of every human soul of good will. This is why this time of year is a pre-eminent symbol for the soul's preparation for her resurrection at Easter. The Lenten season should ultimately be geared to the accomplishment of the fullness of the soul's ability to follow Jesus Christ in His redemptive Sufferings (as a matter of fact the Passion is the climax of Lent and immediately precedes the Resurrection, an invitation for the soul to experience a spiritual rebirth, a rising from her worldly dispositions for a new life, Divine Life in a disposition of Eternal Spring of persistent sanctification). The forty days of Lent should not be the only period of the year to make repairs to the soul, on the contrary, Lent constitutes a Divine invitation for a fruitful journey towards Easter and for a persistent bloom of the dispositions which turn the heart into a place where Christ feels invited to actually live and rise in the very depths of the soul.

Fasting, as even most Christians consider it to be – viz. a limitation of the intake of food – must not become a goal in itself, for in that case it is not going to lead the soul towards her true goal, which is a complete purification of the soul of all and any defiling elements the darkness is constantly trying to soil her with and which the soul often allows to proliferate heedlessly inside of her. As a matter of fact fasting in the mere form of a limitation of food will be spiritually useful only, and to the extent to which, it is practiced explicitly with a spiritual intention, i.e. as a means leading to a rebirth yielding inner dispositions which suit the human soul the way God meant her to be. Fasting which does not go beyond limiting the intake of food without taking the inner person, the deep dispositions of the heart, closer to God and to sanctity, misses its purpose altogether.

The Queen of Heaven calls upon all souls to practice a spiritual fasting with a view to accomplishing a rebirth for true, Divine Life. This fasting consists of a voluntary, confident, persistent effort to purify the heart of all deep-rooted dispositions which prevent the soul from flourishing as a regular child of God. This purification must mainly be geared towards eradicating the three deadly poisons the darkness threatens every soul with:

1. Materialism: The attitude towards life and the way of thinking according to which the material needs get all the attention, as a consequence of which the soul attaches herself to worldly goods beyond that which is necessary to live, and her efforts are applied rather to satisfying worldly needs than for the benefit of her Eternal Life. Materialism automatically leads to selfishness, possessiveness, a spirit of combat or competition against all fellow creatures and of pursuing her own worldly interests to the detriment of all fellow creatures, all of this resulting in the final death of all true Love;

2. Dark dispositions of the heart: All feelings, thoughts and desires which directly serve the works of the darkness and contribute towards the darkness taking ever deeper roots in this world. These dispositions have got innumerable components and faces. Among the most frequently occurring and the most dangerous we find hate, jealousy, envy, spite, resentment, grudge, irreconcilability, unforgiveness, insensitivity and lack of empathy with all fellow creatures, hedonism, lack of faith and trust in God's Love and His Works for the benefit of Eternal Salvation of the souls and for the benefit of the perfect harmony within creation, and all forms of discord and dissatisfaction.

3. Pride and arrogance: The disposition through which the soul overestimates her true place, role and vocation within God's creation and God's Works, and she rather regards herself as an important key figure within this entire system than as a small component among countless other components. The arrogant soul goes on the assumption that her value as a creature is rather absolute (i.e.: that she is valuable as such, in and by herself) than relative (i.e.: that her value is based on fulfilling her role in collaboration with all other creatures, and that her value is therefore determined by the way she behaves in her capacity as a small component inside the system as a whole). The arrogant soul has not understood her actual place within God's creation. She fails to realize that, without the uninterrupted influx of God's Graces, she would not even be alive, and that she is on earth for no other purpose but to help accomplish God's Plans and Works, in other words: that in the deepest sense of the word she is on earth as a servant of God and His Plan of Salvation for all of creation.

These three poisons can not be strictly separated, in part they contain similar ingredients which merge their effects among each other. Thus every human soul is to some extent a carrier of every one of these poisons, as a result of the original sin. The antidote against the whole of this contamination is nothing other than true Love. Perfecting herself in true Love is the sole purpose of every human soul's life on earth, for true Love is the only bearer of true Life. It is true Love which cleanses the soul of all traces left by the original sin, by all darkness which kills Life. The world has come to be the way it is (a flood of darkness, misery and suffering) by a large-scale neglect of true Love. This neglect is nothing other than what we know as sin, with its countless different faces.

True fasting of the soul is a persistent battle against all worldly influences, for the sole purpose of the soul's being reshaped from a creature that is the way the darkness has intended it to be into a creature that is the way God has intended it to be. This is what is truly at stake in the battle between the Light and the darkness, a battle by which every human soul is affected for the entire duration of her life. Blessed is the soul who truly understands this and who, on the basis of this understanding, examines her own inner dispositions as to the degree to which they are in accordance with the purpose for which she was sent into the world. This life has but one purpose: that the soul may live a life as a full-fledged element within creation the way God intended the latter to be, as a system of perfect Love, Peace and harmony, as a mirror of God's Heart.

Myriam, February 2016 (date of writing the text in its original language)