_“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house"(Isaiah 58:6-7)_

_*Fasting is one of the key elements of the lenten season. We are expected to fast and abstain from certain food in order to help us gain countrol over our body and what it desires and craves for.*_

_We fast and abstain from certain food and drink not just to help our body stay in shape, but more importantly to enrich our spiritual life and gain the grace that will help us to continue to seek the face of God at all times. The spiritual benefits of a good fasting and abstinence are so immense that it will help the person to conquer temptations and soar higher in the spirit._

_*For any fasting and abstinence to be acceptable to the Lord, it must be carried out in accordance with the Lord's command. The first reading of today tells us what the Lord expects of us on the day we fast. It is a day to humble ourselves, lose the bonds of wickedness, let the oppressed go free, share your food with the hungry, shelter the homeless and cloth the naked.*_

_Our fasting and abstinence should be aimed at helping us to shine more as the light and not to become instruments and tools of wickedness in the hands of the evil one. Our fasting days should not be times of quarreling and fighting, but a time to show more love and help others to become strong in their faith also._

_*If our fasting and abstinence does not meet God's standard, it will never make God to hear our prayer, but if we fast well and do good on the day of our fast, our light will break forth like the dawn and our healing will speedily come and when we call upon the Lord, He will answer us and help us.*_

_Our fasting and abstinence will help us to shine and glow spiritually when it is properly done. It helps us to have inner peace of soul and our will becomes strong and we will have the inner strength to conquer whatever comes to us as a temptation. Fasting is not just about food, but also about sinful habits of anger, bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness, envy, slander, gossip and so on. Anyone from the age of 18-59 could fast, but the sick, pregnant mothers and those above 60 years are exempt from this law of fasting._

_*Good morning dearest one. Smile😊as you do your work and do have a great day. May you do good with your fasting and may God hear the prayers of your heart. Amen. *And may the Almighty God bless you: the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.*_

*Meditation:* Isaiah 58:1-9/Psalm 51:3-6,18-19/Matthew 9:14-15

*Watch-Word:* A broken and humbled heart, O God, you will not spurn.

*fast and abstain from evil deeds and your light will shine brighter and you will be happy.*

(Friday after Ash wednesday, Cycle B)

*Fr. Augustine Eleke*