The Principal of fasting means giving up a craving of the body because you have a deeper need of the soul
According to St Benedictine monastic principals, the art of fasting is more than simply abstaining from food. Fasting is seen more as a battle tool against the temptations of the flesh, which can easily lead towards extremism. Monks advocate that fasting should be for more than beauty or health and that it is best done for the clarity that can be achieved in one’s inner life. Monastically, Fasting is for those who have the courage to give up something, to distance themselves from long-established habits, and who are prepared to change their ways.
Nutrients are beneficial to the body, yet Fasting is the food of the soul. The soul or “soul-mind” is that part of us that analyzes and has a sense of self. It is the part of us that craves more, likes familiarity and becomes fearful. When we fast, we are using a wonderful means of obtaining more comfort, happiness, concentration, sharper senses and discovering more about the self. This ancient and still greatly practiced exercise brings about reflection, repentance, listening and sharing. It helps to rediscover feelings and the sense of what is really most important in one’s life. Fasting also serves to overcome all forms of addiction. Still, the most important reason that St Benedictine Monks fast is that it helps make the path to God as well as the Gifts of the Spirit more easily accessible.
In this way, fasting is the quintessential paradox because we gain so much through reduction.