The attack on marriage is really an attack on the human person, and his dignity, for the devil seeks to pervert our true purpose, to pervert God's holy design. For many of us, we cannot march in protests or write dozens of letters or call numerous times to urge legislators to vote for the Truth. But one thing we can all do is pray and fast. We have designated one day each week to fast for these intentions:

1. That marriage may be preserved, promoted, and understood as God's plan for creation.

2. For all marriages that they may reflect the love of the Trinity.

3. For broken marriages that Christ bring healing and conversion to the spouses' souls.

4. For those who are married, for the sanctification of their marriage and their spouse. For those who are single, for their future spouse and vocation.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

June 1st Fast


 "Yet, owing to the efforts of the archenemy of mankind, there are persons who, thanklessly casting away so many other blessings of redemption, despise also or utterly ignore the restoration of marriage to its original perfection. It is a reproach to some of the ancients that they showed themselves the enemies of marriage in many ways; but in our own age, much more pernicious is the sin of those who would fain pervert utterly the nature of marriage, perfect though it is, and complete in all its details and parts. The chief reason why they act in this way is because very many, imbued with the maxims of a false philosophy and corrupted in morals, judge nothing so unbearable as submission and obedience; and strive with all their might to bring about that not only individual men, but families, also-indeed, human society itself-may in haughty pride despise the sovereignty of God."  (Arcanum Divinae, On Christian Marriage, no. 16, Pope Leo XIII, 1880)  

The current crisis in marriage has certainly been abetted by elements by our contemporary society, like contraception, and no-fault divorce.  Though these things place great obstacles in marriage, they would not be resorted to unless first there were selfish motives to begin with.  Unless first, man sought to control his own destiny as Adam first did in the garden; as Lucifer did: "Non serviam", "I will not serve."  How often to we hear this false proposition that it is in man's nature to rebel?  Submission and obedience are anachronistic phrases that have no meaning for today.  And yet, man will be submissive to something.  If he is not submissive to God's will, he will be a slave to his own.

 Marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman.  In contrast to a contract which requires the exchange of goods, a covenant demands the exchanges of persons: a total gift of self.  Yet, one cannot completely give to the other, unless he completely denies himself first.  And in denying himself, he refuses to submit to his own will, and agrees to submit to God's will revealed in the vocation to marriage.  This submission requires a humble and freely given obedience.  A submission that is instinctive; and an obedience that is not burdensome.

It is no surprise that the spouse of the Holy Spirit, readily gave her fiat to God, the Father referring to herself as a servant:
"Behold, the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to thy word." (Lk. 1:38)
 She said her yes as quickly, and lovingly as a devoted attendant in the King's chamber would have. Might we do the same?  We may believe that we gladly submit to God's will, but do we submit to our spouse?  To our family's needs?  In our vocations, in our everyday lives, we are called to submit to God's will, but this is revealed through others.  This humble obedience, and willing submission is not a romantic notion but a difficult Truth that must be lived out constantly and consistently.  Tempted in the Garden of Olives, Our Savior Himself struggled:
"Father if thou art willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done." (Lk. 22:42)
Yet, through Christ's obedience we are all saved and have the grace to obey as well:
"For as by one's man disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man's obedience many will be made righteous." (Rom. 5:19)
When we live this Truth, when we submit to His will, we acknowledge God's sovereignty over our lives.  We also reveal our trust in His loving plan for us.  God Bless you and be with you in your fast today!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

May 4th Fast


"Any surrender of oneself to God that does not completely lay aside, from the moment of accepting the divine will, all thought and hope of retracing one's steps is false down to its very roots.  To give oneself to God and at the same time to cherish plans, dreams, or projects, however vaguely or theoretically or dimly, which are outside the way one has chosen, is not to give oneself to God at all.  It is too much like looking back when one has put one's hand to the plough; it is like looking out of the corner of our eye at a future we might have chosen if God had not come to us with His all encompassing demands."
(Fr. Frederico Suarez, Mary of Nazareth, p.53)

     Surrender to our vocation, to the path God has called us to, must be complete and continuous if we are ever to attain happiness and peace.  After hearing the path that God has chosen for her, Mary responded:
"Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to thy word.  And the angel departed from her." (Lk.1:38)
It is easy to romanticize the Annunciation, meditating upon Mary's beautiful words of submission, but forgetting the complete abandonment to God's will that those words meant.  The power to control one's life is a desire that stems from the sin of pride.   The surrender of this control is the great gift that emanates from the virtue of humility.  Though this surrender appears to be weak to the worldly, it reveals a great strength and wisdom.  It recognizes the true source of strength and power. By relying solely on God, one knows that His Creator will surely guide Him to what he was created for: eternal happiness. 

Complete surrender is not possible without continuous self-sacrifice and denial.  Mary could not have completely received our Lord in her body without first completely emptying her own self. Father Luis Lorda said in the Virtues of Holiness:
"Self-sacrifice is the fuel one must burn to keep a home warm." (p.63)
 The more we empty our hearts of self-love, the more God will fill them with His Love.  We can then more readily love others with His abundant Love. Our love is tainted by the impurities of selfishness, but His Love is spotless, pure and praiseworthy. Our fast tomorrow must spur us on to sacrificing in other ways, to bring to peace to our hearts and to our homes.   St. Theresa of Avila said:
". . . For this body of ours has one fault: the more you indulge it, the more things it discovers to be essential to it." (The Way of Perfection, 11, 3) 
Nothing can be more essential to our lives, our marriages, our families, than to keep the peace of Christ.  Let us strive ardently to completely surrender to His Love, holding nothing back.  God bless you!