THERE ARE not many books written about fasting from the religious point of view. Father Ryan makes up for this deficiency by stressing its value both for bodily and spiritual health.
"Temperance," he writes, "is not the puritanical enemy of pleasure." A Christian may enjoy himself but for true peace and freedom temperance is necessary. His account of the way fasting was viewed ranges over Old Testament times and the time of Christ and onward into the centuries of the Church.
"The authentic airriof fasting," he writes, "as an act of Christian asceticism is always to lead us to a deeper union in love of God and appreciation ['or his universe and all its creatures." Fasting for others is an important part of his theme. "Fasting is a way of identifying with all the suffering peoples of the world, especially those dying of hunger ... my fasting helps to remind me of the Christ who is suffering in many people all around the world." A worthwhile book on the subject.
Maurice Nassan SJ