The Power of Fasting

The Power of Fasting

Session Overview (for facilitators): Fasting, an ancient spiritual practice is the focus of today’s session. Our society continually distracts us into wanting more and more. Money, sports, food, and busyness can easily control our decisions and our hearts as they crowd out our desire for God. Unless we, and our families, choose God with our whole hearts, we will not be able to carry out our mission of love in the world.

Opening Prayer:

Good and Gracious God, from the very beginning of time you made man and woman to live in loving relationship with you and one another. The family, created to be a reflection of your love, is meant to continue your mission in the world. Be with us today as we reflect on the place of fasting in our families. Help each member of our family realize his or her real desire for God. Help us to turn to you when faced with temptation, knowing wherever two or three are gathered in your name, you are present. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Scripture Reading:
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark (1:12-15):

Since the Passover of the Jews was near,
Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves,
as well as the money changers seated there.
He made a whip out of cords
and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen,
and spilled the coins of the money changers
and overturned their tables,
and to those who sold doves he said,
“Take these out of here,
and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.”
His disciples recalled the words of Scripture,
Zeal for your house will consume me.
At this the Jews answered and said to him,
“What sign can you show us for doing this?”
Jesus answered and said to them,
“Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.”
The Jews said,
“This temple has been under construction for forty-six years,
and you will raise it up in three days?”
But he was speaking about the temple of his body.
Therefore, when he was raised from the dead,
his disciples remembered that he had said this,
and they came to believe the Scripture
and the word Jesus had spoken.

While he was in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover,
many began to believe in his name
when they saw the signs he was doing.
But Jesus would not trust himself to them because he knew them all,
and did not need anyone to testify about human nature.
He himself understood it well.


The Gospel of the Lord:

Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.


Reflection Video with Lyrics: (or choose your own)


For Facilitator Use (may share with group): This song goes further into what we “want” and hold on to: comfort, fear, money, and goods. We are free to serve God only when we choose to follow God with our whole hearts. Fasting is a way to let go of those distractions in order to deepen our relationship with God and further the mission of God. We will now listen to this song and reflect on the power of fasting.


Reflection Song: I Shall Not Want by Audrey Assad

Lead into the session video with these group discussion questions:

  1. How do your “wants” keep you from God?
  2. How does this Gospel affect your image of Jesus?
  3. What has been your experience of fasting?

Please show the Session Video: The Power of Fasting by Linda Manternach

Discussion Questions:

  1. What are the layers that need to be peeled back from your life that will help you get to the core of your life?
  2. What in your life distracts you from being present to God and others?
  3. How do you want to simplify your family’s life?
  4. How dependent is your family on God?
  5. What was most helpful from this session?


Closing Song: I Send You Out by John Angotti


Closing Prayer: Holy Family Prayer

Let us pray with expectant faith for the growth of the faith of our families and the transformation of the Archdiocese of Dubuque.


Jesus, Mary and Joseph,

in contemplating your example of love,

we wish to follow your way of holiness.


Holy Family of Nazareth,

may each family of the Archdiocese of Dubuque

discover, embrace, and live its true vocation

as the domestic church—the place of intimate communion and prayer.


Holy Family of Nazareth,

may each home become an authentic school of the Gospel,

may each table provide rich and satisfying nourishment, and

may each hearth extend compassionate love and mercy.


Holy Family of Nazareth,

make us every mindful of each family’s call to holiness

and beauty.


Jesus, Mary and Joseph, give us the desire to make our families more like yours.

Help each family realize that family matters and our mission is love.


We ask this through Christ, our Lord.