Time will come when the bridegroom will be taken
away from them, then they will fast.
"God, indeed, who brings things to maturity, requires us to be patient for his works are generated and cultivated through thorns, crosses, and all sorts of hardships that accompany a ministry of the primary and essential relationship in the Church of Jesus Christ. "Faith comes through hearing..." 
With regard to periods of fasting, this can be examined at a later time. In the meantime, their interior attitudes should be set deeply within, like mysterious roots of mystical plants. Allow them to grow to maturity, and all things in due time. For the time being, therefore, they should adapt to a mitigated rule to rescue them from the sense of guilt. We shall climb Jacob's ladder very gradually, step by step.
On this the first of the Friday's in Lent the readings emphasize the ancient discipline of fasting. Jesus indicates to the Pharisees that they are asking the wrong question. They were concerned about an exterior practice. The ancient prophet had described fasting as communion with those most in need, and now Jesus invites them to pay attention to an essential and primary relationship with the bridegroom. Clearly fasting has something to do with relationship, relationship with those in need and relationship with the Lord.
When involved in any relationship it is often true that we must fast from our own ideas and opinions in order to listen to another. We have to let go of our own expectations in order to receive the other as they are, not as we imagine them to be. If we live in a land of plenty and anything is available to us anytime we want it, we are filled, satisfied, in need of nothing and no one else. If we fast from these things, possibly we could hunger for something greater, more satisfying.
So then, fasting is deeply connected with what Gaspar calls a primary and essential relationship with Christ. The readings and prayers from the tradition ensure that we know the meaning of these ancient practices. These are not practices to be pursued so that we might be perfect in penitential practice, but as a means to our on-going conversion to the Lord. It is less important that we fulfill ancient discipline than that the fasting lead us to this essential relationship. It is more than abstaining from food and drink. It is also sharing that food with the poor, and acting on behalf of justice. The presence of Jesus in our lives has enormous consequences for how we live, and St. Gaspar invites us to take up the hardships that accompany the building of the Kingdom of God. Fasting is not easy, and we shy away from it in this land of plenty. Relationships are not easy either and we can be tempted to shy away from the hard work. St. Gaspar assures us the way to heaven is strewn with thorns and crosses, but they lead us to this primary relationship. We enter more deeply into our Lenten fast, knowing that this practice must also include practical help for others, establishing the justice God's heart desires.
- What am I giving up for Lent this year?
- How might I direct this fast toward God?
- What would it be like to hunger for God alone?
 Letter 946 to Cristaldi, August 20, 1824
 et omnia cum tempore
 letter 739, July 7, 1823, to Msgr. Carlo Manassi, Bishop of Priverno, Sezze and Terracina