Fasting consists in making a single strong meal a day. Abstinence consists in not eating meat. Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of abstinence and fasting
Abstinence starts from the age of fourteen and the fast from eighteen to fifty-nine years of age.
With these sacrifices, we force our whole being (spirit, soul and body) to participate in an act where we recognize we have to work to repair the damage caused with our sins and for the sake of the Church.
Fasting and abstinence can be changed by any other sacrifices, depending on what the Episcopal Conferences of each country dictate, since they are the ones that have the authority to determine the various forms of Christian penance.
It is necessary to give a deep response to this question, to make the relationship between fasting and conversion clearer, that is, the spiritual transformation that brings the human being closer to God.
Abstaining from food and drink is intended to introduce into man’s existence not only the necessary balance, but also the detachment of what could be defined as “consumerist attitude”.
Nowadays, this attitude has become one of the principal characteristics of western civilization. Very often, the human being is oriented towards material goods and abuses of them. Civilization is then measured according to the quantity and quality of how things are in a condition to contribute anything to man, therefore, it is not measured with the meter suitable for man.
This consumer civilization supplies material goods not only to serve man in order to develop creative and useful activities, but increasingly to satisfy their senses, their excitement, their pleasure, a multiplication of sensations that is bigger day after day .
Nowadays man must abstain from most of all means of consumption, of stimuli, of the satisfaction of the senses: to fast means to abstain from something. Man is himself only when he manages to tell himself: No.
This is not about renunciation by it’s own: it is for the best and most balanced development of oneself in order to live higher values in a better way, it is for self-control.
Translated into English from the original post in Spanish from Acriprensa