Fasting is one of the ways the servants [of Jesus] keep themselves alert in this future-oriented waiting until the bridegroom returns. To what could you liken their discreet, mysterious joy as they wait? You could say it is like the quiet humming or whistling of a choir member earlier in the day of the concert. It's like a mother and father cleaning the house and making up the beds in anticipation of the kids' coming home at Thanksgiving or Christmas. It's like standing in the airport terminal or train station, waiting for your loved one to appear. It's like a fiancee patiently addressing the wedding invitations. The long-awaited event is not here yet, but it will come, and this is necessary preparation. In each case the energy is upbeat, forward-looking, and marked by the quiet joy of anticipation.
- Thomas Ryan, The Sacred Art Of Fasting (Preparing to Practice)