Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Saturday 18 September |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Daudi Okelo and Bl. Jildo Irwa
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

Fasting in Lent helps restore our relationship with God


BlueDesign | Shutterstock

Philip Kosloski - published on 02/27/20

Our fasting is meant to recall the sin of Adam and Eve, who were unable to fast in the Garden, harming their relationship with God.

Did you know that one of God’s first instructions to humans involved fasting? If we open up the book of Genesis, we see God explaining to Adam and Eve all the food they can eat, expect for a single tree they must avoid.

“You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)

Isn’t it interesting how the first “test” from God involved abstaining from the fruit of a single tree?

Early Christian writer Tertullian had some harsh words for Adam and his inability to fast!

Adam had received from God the law of not tasting of the tree of recognition of good and evil … [instead Adam] yielded more readily to his belly than to God, heeded the meat rather than the mandate, and sold salvation for his gullet!

Adam and Eve created an unnatural separation between humanity and God that Jesus later restored. Nevertheless, fasting recalls that first instruction of God and is a visible pledge of our desire to reunite with God.

Pope Benedict XVI reflected on this theme in his Lenten message in 2009.

Commenting on the divine injunction, Saint Basil observes that “fasting was ordained in Paradise,” and “the first commandment in this sense was delivered to Adam.” He thus concludes: “ ‘You shall not eat’ is a law of fasting and abstinence.” Since all of us are weighed down by sin and its consequences, fasting is proposed to us as an instrument to restore friendship with God…If, therefore, Adam disobeyed the Lord’s command “of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat,” the believer, through fasting, intends to submit himself humbly to God, trusting in His goodness and mercy.

Viewed in this light, fasting becomes less of a burden and more of an invitation to draw closer to God and pledge our trust in him. In a certain sense we are transported back to the Garden of Eden and God gives us the same command to “not eat” only one thing (take meat on Fridays as an example).

Can we embrace the fast and see it as a way in our lives to correct the fault of Adam and Eve?

Fasting is as old as the book of Genesis and God invites us to see it as a way to trust him, instead of a burden we do out of obligation.


Read more:
Here’s why Catholics don’t eat meat on Fridays during Lent


Read more:
Why fasting leads to freedom


Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Pope considers what to do with pro-abortion Catholic politicians
Philip Kosloski
How receiving Holy Communion can drive away demons
Berthe and Marcel
Lauriane Vofo Kana
This couple has the longest marriage in France
Philip Kosloski
Why is the feast of the Holy Cross celebrated on September 14?
Mathilde De Robien
How a lost masterpiece of sacred art was discovered thanks to chi...
Kathleen N. Hattrup
On same-sex unions, Pope says Church doesn’t have power to change...
Philip Kosloski
This prayer to St. Anthony is said to have “never been known to f...
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.