Fast with the Heart / Fr Slavko Barbarić

SKU: 9789958361982
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About the Author

Fr Slavko Barbarić, OFM, was born near Medjugorje in 1946. He was ordained a priest in 1971. He studied philosophy and pastoral theology in Sarajevo and Schwaz (Austria) and obtained his master’s degree in 1973 in Graz, Austria. He gained his doctorate in religious education in 1982 in Freiburg, Germany.

Fr Slavko began working with the pilgrims in Medjugorje in January 1982. He conducted numerous retreats and tirelessly spoke about the events of Medjugorje all over the world. He wrote many articles for various publications and is the author of many books on the spirituality of Medjugorje. His books have been translated into more than 20 languages.

Fr Slavko died on November 24, 2000, at 3.30 PM, on Mount Križevac (Cross Mountain) in Medjugorje, after having prayed the Stations of the Cross with the parishioners.

About This Book

According to the witness of the visionaries, Our Lady called us to peace, fasting and prayer, to conversion and firm faith.

From the beginning of the apparitions until 14 August 1984, fasting was practised one day a week. On the vigil of the Solemnity of the Assumption 1984, Ivan the visionary came to the Parish Office and said that Our Lady appeared to him when he was getting ready for church, and that she called everyone to pray all three Mysteries of the Rosary and to fast two days a week, on Wednesdays and on Fridays. Since then, this call has remained unchanged.

Many of us were surprised and stunned by this call to fasting in general, let alone for two days a week. Many considered this to be excessive, unrealistic and impossible. However, even a quick glance at the history of fasting shows that Jews used to fast two days a week, on Mondays and on Thursdays. The Gospel according to Luke (Lk 18:9-13) mentions the Pharisee who prays in the Temple and thanks God for his prayer, his fasting twice a week and his taking care of the poor. However, he was not justified, because he judged the tax collector who also prayed in the Temple some distance away. Jesus neither devaluated fasting nor did He forbid fasting twice a week; He forbade judging others.

Mary is the Queen of the Prophets, and all the Prophets called for conversion, fasting and prayer as conditions for peace. Our Lady has no better or different means than those, by which the Prophets called to peace, namely conversion, prayer, fasting and firm faith.

In calling us to fast twice a week, Mary keeps the tradition of her Israelite people and reminds us of the multi-century tradition of the Eastern and the Western Church.

Although the Second Vatican Council invited everyone to go “back to the sources”, we must admit that we have not rediscovered fasting, on the contrary. In the past decades, fasting was reduced to the least possible measure, namely two days a year: Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

The apparitions in Medjugorje did not bring any new or unknown “revelations”, on the contrary. They help us accept what God asked for through the prophets, what Mary used to do and what Jesus Himself has done.

The Author Speaks

To speak about fasting to today’s consumerist mind-set means to speak about a forgotten religious, biblical and Christian theme. While not only the practice of fasting, but also its meaning, is largely lost in the Church, the world speaks more and more about fasting therapies and various slimming diets that are intended to counteract different illnesses and excessive bodyweight. There are an increasing number of clinics that specialise in fasting therapy with very good results, which attract more and more people who are looking for help. We also know that many modern illnesses are caused by excessive eating and drinking and by disordered attachment to food in general. In his peril, man seeks solutions that give him hope. This is why more and more people – individually and as movements – want to return to nature and to a more natural way of life. The sooner more people succeed in returning to a more natural lifestyle, the fewer victims of unnatural living there will be.

Every religion knows fasting and appeals to its followers to fast. The Old Testament speaks about fasting – always connected with prayer as means to reach peace. Fasting is also known in the New Testament. Jesus fasted prior to His public life and said that those who are His own will also fast. Church Tradition knows fasting especially connected with the Eucharist and seasons such as Lent and preparation for solemnities. This tradition has been kept for many centuries. Recently, almost all traces of fasting nearly disappeared in the Church. Only Ash Wednesday and Good Friday remained, but even these two days of fasting have lost their real practice and true meaning.

This book was written in the context of the events of Medjugorje. The call to fasting was a surprise for many, and many consider it to be a matter of exaggeration and fanaticism to fast on bread and water two days a week, on Wednesdays and Fridays. Many consider this impossible and, more so, unnecessary. Our Lady’s messages on fasting, however, show that she does not think that way. She thinks biblically and ecclesiastically, and she knows the right and verified conditions for spiritual growth – and these are fasting and prayer. Reflecting on my own experiences of fasting and on the experiences of those who participated in fasting and prayer retreats, I can see more and more clearly the injustice that was committed in our times against the practice of fasting, and thus against true spiritual growth.


I. The Call of the Queen of Peace

II. The Experience of Fasting

III. Fasting and the Fruits of Fasting In the Prayers of the Church

IV. Fasting In the Bible

V. The Catechism of the Catholic Church on Fasting

VI. The History of Fasting Twice a Week

VII. Fasting In the Lives of the Saints

VIII. A Week with Bread and Water

IX. Fasting, Prayer and Mental Health

X. Fasting and Spiritual Health

XI. Fasting and Other Religions

XII. Prayer on Fast Days

XIII. The Lighter Side of Fasting

XIV. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger on Fasting

Publisher: ICMM

Author: Fr Slavko Barbarić

Language: English

Original language: Croatian

Translation / Review: Lidija Paris / Fr Leon Pereira O.P.

Edited in 2018

Size: 195 x 120

252 pages