If you chew a piece of gum, is it breaking a fast? Thanks.
Anna, from Washington
Fasting has a dual purpose. One purpose is to provide funds for the care of the poor, and the other purpose is to increase our spirituality by the practice of overcoming our bodily appetites and passions. One gains spiritual strength by overcoming the temptation to partake of food or water during the fasting period. If we find some way of easing the burden we may in some sense may be defeating part of the purpose. However, I imagine that the decision in such matters is left up to the individual-another case of let your conscience be your guide.