For his 2009 Lenten message, Pope Benedict XVI chose "the value and meaning of fasting" as the theme, observing that "this practice needs to be rediscovered and encouraged again in our day." In timely response, The Spirituality of Fasting draws on sources ancient and current-from Augustine to Michael Pollan-to consider anew how fasting informs the relationships between creator/creature, body/soul, and rich/poor.
Murphys extensive theological background, pastoral experience, and personal devotion to his topic come through, inspiring readers to explore what it means to be fully engaged in worship through fasting.
Monsignor Charles M. Murphy is currently the director of the permanent diaconate for the Diocese of Portland, Maine. He is the author of a number of scholarly articles and several books, including The Spirituality of Fasting, Eucharistic Adoration, At Home on the Earth, Wallace Stevens: A Spiritual Poet in a Secular Age, and Belonging to God. Murphy is the former academic dean and rector of the Pontifical North American College in Rome and served as part of the editorial group working in Italy under Cardinal Ratzinger on the third draft of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which became the fourth and final version.
Murphy currently serves as consultant to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops committee on catechetics, reviewing materials for conformity with the Catechism. He served as chair of the editorial committee that produced the pastoral letter on environmental issues by the Bishops of the Boston Province and he served as a consultant to the USCCB for their statement on global warming. He has been the pastor of four parishes in Maine and has served his diocese in ecumenical and educational capacities. Murphy holds a doctorate in sacred theology from the Gregorian University, a master’s degree in education from Harvard University, and a bachelor’s degree in classics from the College of the Holy Cross.
The range and depth of this little book are impressive! Msgr. Charles Murphy presents a comprehensive history of fasting and offers a sound rationale for the need to revive this ancient practice. A must-read for any serious Christian and a wonderful resource for adult faith formation, small faith communities, or parish social justice committees.
- Director of Religious Education, Archdiocese of Boston
"Msgr. Charles M. Murphy, an experienced pastor and theologian, takes a fresh look at the neglected Christian practice of fasting. Brilliant and readable . . . the book is a perfect example of retrieving an ancient Christian practice for modern people."
- Dean, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry
" The Spirituality of Fasting articulates what St. Augustine meant when he wrote, "Longing deepens the heart." Religious fasting, devoted to prayer and charity, can "transform our total being, mind, body, and spirit," and can strengthen the Christian community. "
- Emerita Professor of HistoricalTheology, The Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley
"For those of us seriously seeking to renew our spiritual lives, Msgr. Murphys comprehensive book gives a deeply helpful understanding of the indispensable rediscovery of fasting as a pillar of our faith and an integral part of our lifelong quest for the Lord Jesus"
- Author of The Faith We Profess
"This eloquent, historically enlightening, and practical guide to a Catholic and religious understanding of fasting motivates us to take a new look at an old virtue. Must reading for anyone serious about finding the only real food that can quench their hunger and thirst for God and for growing in compassion and greater charity."
- Author of Catholics Going Green
"This reader-friendly text, sensitive to holistic emphases in contemporary spirituality, anchors in the Bible and the formative centuries of Christian life, a still valuable but now neglected practice. Msgr. Charles Murphys treatment of fasting makes a very positive contribution toward shoring up the three traditional pillars of Judeo-Christian piety-prayer, fasting, works of charity-in harmonious relation to one another."
- Author of Fasting Rediscovered