Discovering Leo The Great's Ancient Teaching On Fasting

"In prayer you shall perceive ... the way out of every situation that has no exit." 
Medjugorje March 28, 1985

"Do novenas of fasting and renunciation so that satan be far from you and grace be around you"                                                                                                             -  Medjugorje July 25, 2005


Per our reminder on Friday, this week we will be fasting today and tomorrow instead of the usual Wednesday and Fridays given the Thanksgiving Feast, perhaps our most special American tradition. Some will choose to fast Wednesday and Friday this week - and we commend you. No matter when you fast, thank you so much for making the effort that shapes history in a way beyond our understanding.

Today we have what we consider the biggest news regarding fasting that we have come across probably in years. As you likely know, on our website, we have compiled an extensive repository of information on fasting including scriptural references, modern fasting successes, how to fast, when to fast, and some videos we have crafted for beginners.

Over the last decade we have come across numerous luminaries in Christianity who have specified that Wednesdays and Fridays are days in which believers are obligated to fast. Each of these leaders however has been Protestant and as a result many catholics dismiss the notion that Wednesday and Friday fasting is expected of catholics.

Last week however John from Pennsylvania wrote to us with what we consider an incredible insight. Like all of our good ideas on fasting, it was another case where you who have brought these understandings to our attention. John referenced a sermon by Saint Leo the Great, one of the few figures in history that the Catholic Church has attached the description “the great” to his name, indicative of his influence and spiritual contribution to the faith. In what is known as sermon #19 from Saint Leo in the 5th century, St. Leo states:

Let us therefore fast on Wednesday and Friday, and on Saturday keep vigil with the most blessed Apostle Peter, and he will deign to assist with his own prayers our supplications and fastings and alms which our Lord Jesus Christ presents, Who with the Father and the Holy Ghost lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

Wow – yet another Christian luminary who agrees with the Didache and in this case someone considered a pillar of catholicism. Is it coincidence that this also agrees with Medjugorje where heaven explicitly said believers “have forgotten” that we are obligated to fast weekly on bread and water?

Our suggestion to believers who really want to live as God would have us is this – Don’t be afraid to fast. Don’t dig your heels in just to argue for the sake of being right. Ask the Holy Spirit to soften your heart so that you may know and want what God desires in this area of your life.

And then just try. You don’t have to be perfect.

And you may tell God that you’re not sure this really is required, but regardless - you are making the effort just to please Him. His much-wounded heart will be comforted by your gesture of love and effort.

And before wrapping up, what of Leo's words about fasting on Saturdays as well?

For us, Leo’s words dovetailed with the extraordinary granularity Medjugorje gives us into pulling down blessings in our lives. Per the quote at the top of our current fasting reminders, Medjugorje guided us that if we lived novenas of fasting and renunciation, where a novena is clearly being beyond what is obligatory, heaven held out the most spectacular offer - that evil will stay far from us. Imagine as parents being able to see evil kept at bay from trying to destroy your children's lives or the lives of those you love most. Doesn't it make sense that believers aware of this extraordinary blessing would essentially live a perpetual novena - perhaps fasting a third day each week?  Perhaps on Saturdays as Leo the Great counseled, in exchange for that great promise? Could it be that Leo and other early church fathers understood this incremental power of protection too?

At the very least, Leo’s words are food for reflection.  Thank you John and thank you Holy Spirit for uncovering this ancient teaching with its granularity as to how early Christian titans expected believers to fast.

And thank you all for your efforts today- you will be glad you did so for all of eternity.   


St. Leo the Great’s Sermon #19 … courtesy of

I. Self-restraint leads to higher enjoyments

When the Savior would instruct His disciples about the Advent of God's Kingdom and the end of the world's times, and teach His whole Church, in the person of the Apostles, He said, Take heed lest haply your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and care of this life Luke 21:34 . And assuredly, dearly beloved, we acknowledge that this precept applies more especially to us, to whom undoubtedly the day denounced is near, even though hidden. For the advent of which it behooves every man to prepare himself, lest it find him given over to gluttony, or entangled in cares of this life. For by daily experience, beloved, it is proved that the mind's edge is blunted by over-indulgence of the flesh, and the heart's vigour is dulled by excess of food, so that the delights of eating are even opposed to the health of the body, unless reasonable moderation withstand the temptation and the consideration of future discomfort keep from the pleasure. For although the flesh desires nothing without the soul, and receives its sensations from the same source as it receives its motions also, yet it is the function of the same soul to deny certain things to the body which is subject to it, and by its inner judgment to restrain the outer parts from things unseasonable, in order that it may be the oftener free from bodily lusts, and have leisure for Divine wisdom in the palace of the mind, where, away from all the noise of earthly cares, it may in silence enjoy holy meditations and eternal delights. And, although this is difficult to maintain in this life, yet the attempt can frequently be renewed, in order that we may the oftener and longer be occupied with spiritual rather than fleshly cares; and by our spending ever greater portions of our time on higher cares, even our temporal actions may end in gaining the incorruptible riches.

II. The teaching of the four yearly fasts is that spiritual self-restraint is as necessary as corporeal

This profitable observance, dearly beloved, is especially laid down for the fasts of the Church, which, in accordance with the Holy Spirit's teaching, are so distributed over the whole year that the law of abstinence may be kept before us at all times. Accordingly we keep the spring fast in Lent, the summer fast at Whitsuntide, the autumn fast in the seventh month, and the winter fast in this which is the tenth month, knowing that there is nothing unconnected with the Divine commands, and that all the elements serve the Word of God to our instruction, so that from the very hinges on which the world turns, as if by four gospels we learn unceasingly what to preach and what to do. For, when the prophet says, The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows His handiwork: day unto day utters speech, and night shows knowledge , what is there by which the Truth does not speak to us? By day and by night His voices are heard, and the beauty of the things made by the workmanship of the One God ceases not to instil the teachings of Reason into our hearts' ears, so that the invisible things of God may be perceived and seen through the things which are made, and men may serve the Creator of all, not His creatures. Since therefore all vices are destroyed by self-restraint, and whatever avarice thirsts for, pride strives for, luxury lusts after, is overcome by the solid force of this virtue, who can fail to understand the aid which is given us by fastings? For therein we are bidden to restrain ourselves, not only in food, but also in all carnal desires. Otherwise it is lost labour to endure hunger and yet not put away wrong wishes; to afflict oneself by curtailing food, and yet not to flee from sinful thoughts. That is a carnal, not a spiritual fast, where the body only is stinted, and those things persisted in, which are more harmful than all delights. What profit is it to the soul to act outwardly as mistress and inwardly to be a captive and a slave, to issue orders to the limbs and to lose the right to her own liberty? That soul for the most part (and deservedly) meets with rebellion in her servant, which does not pay to God the service that is due. When the body therefore fasts from food, let the mind fast from vices, and pass judgment upon all earthly cares and desires according to the law of its King

III. Thus fasting in mind as well as body, and giving alms freely, we shall win God's highest favour

Let us remember that we owe love first to God, secondly to our neighbour, and that all our affections must be so regulated as not to draw us away from the worship of God, or the benefiting our fellow slave. But how shall we worship God unless that which is pleasing to Him is also pleasing to us? For, if our will is His will, our weakness will receive strength from Him, from Whom the very will came; for it is God, as the Apostle says, who works in us both to will and to do for (His) good pleasure Philippians 2:13 . And so a man will not be puffed up with pride, nor crushed with despair, if he uses the gifts which God gave to His glory, and withholds his inclinations from those things, which he knows will harm him. For in abstaining from malicious envy, from luxurious and dissolute living, from the perturbations of anger, from the lust after vengeance, he will be made pure and holy by true fasting, and will be fed upon the pleasures of incorruptible delights, and so he will know how, by the spiritual use of his earthly riches, to transform them into heavenly treasures, not by hoarding up for himself what he has received, but by gaining a hundred-fold on what he gives. And hence we warn you, beloved, in fatherly affection, to make this winter fast fruitful to yourselves by bounteous alms, rejoicing that by you the Lord feeds and clothes His poor, to whom assuredly He could have given the possessions which He has bestowed on you, had He not in His unspeakable mercy wished to justify them for their patient labour, and you for your works of love. Let us therefore fast on Wednesday and Friday, and on Saturday keep vigil with the most blessed Apostle Peter, and he will deign to assist with his own prayers our supplications and fastings and alms which our Lord Jesus Christ presents, Who with the Father and the Holy Ghost lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

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Why We Fast – Our Core Fasting Intentions

1) For the Holy Spirit to reign down upon America renewing our land as the Christian, capitalist meritocracy we were founded to be.

2) For the protection of our police, firefighters, military and their families from harm and that the Lord bless their courageous generosity on our behalf one hundredfold.

3) For the protection of the families who fast with us, and for God’s blessings of abundance upon them and that true to His word, we will be able to witness that He prospered us in famine.

Would you like to learn more about fasting?

We maintain a repository of ideas and information we have learned over the last decade while fasting weekly for America. From scientific studies on the benefits of fasting, to the differences between intermittent dieting vs intermittent fasting, to scriptural references regarding the power of fasting to the history of first century Christians who stated believers are obligated to fast weekly, we hope you will find numerous insights with our free resource located here.

Together let us also implore Heaven while fasting for intentions you have highlighted:

4) For Mike Lindell who is putting himself on the front lines suing over the election fraud that has taken place and for all of the warriors who are stepping up around the nation to fight for the gospel – May The Father cover them in the blood of our savior,  protect them and their families from evil and bring victory to their endeavors.

5) For priests, ministers and all who aspire to lead others to the Lord, that the Holy Spirit will reign down upon them as at Pentecost filling them to overflowing with an understanding of what the Lord wants, courage and the desire to preach what He would have them preach and protection and strength from all evil that comes against them. 

6) For the Americans jailed after January 6th who were admitted to the Capitol building by the police, and who were not found to have destroyed any property at the capitol yet who have been held captive ever since on our own soil - That God's Spirit will move quickly to bring justice back to this land by freeing them while enlightening Americans how to bring God's justice back to our nation.

Who We Are

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