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, December 6, 2012

December 7th Fast

"The family is the domestic Church and must be the first school of prayer. It is in the family that children, from the tenderest age, can learn to perceive the meaning of God, also thanks to the teaching and example of their parents: to live in an atmosphere marked by God’s presence. An authentically Christian education cannot dispense with the experience of prayer. If one does not learn how to pray in the family it will later be difficult to bridge this gap. And so I would like to address to you the invitation to pray together as a family at the school of the Holy Family of Nazareth and thereby really to become of one heart and soul, a true family." 
(General Audience of Pope Benedict XVI, Feast of the Holy Family, December 28, 2011)

How often do we hear the phrase: the family is the "domestic church"?  And how often do we really meditate on its meaning?  The Church is not only the People of God but also a sacred space where God is truly present and is reverenced, adored and loved.  The Holy Family is the model for the domestic church. In his General Audience, previously quoted, Pope Benedict recalls the words of one of his predecessors, Pope Paul VI, during his pilgrimage to Nazareth:
“In the first place it teaches us silence. Oh! If only esteem for silence, a wonderful and indispensable spiritual atmosphere, could be reborn within us! Whereas we are deafened by the din, the noise and discordant voices in the frenetic, turbulent life of our time. O silence of Nazareth! Teach us to be steadfast in good thoughts, attentive to our inner life, ready to hear God’s hidden inspiration clearly and the exhortations of true teachers.”
To be a domestic church, our homes and lives must cultivate this "wonderful and indispensable spiritual atmosphere" that encourages meditation, and adoration of our Lord.  Technology and unnecessary activity inhibit our ability to think of God in our daily life, to "ponder all these things" in our hearts as our Blessed Mother so often did.  This cacophony distracts us from becoming "just men" like Saint Joseph:
"A just man, (Psalm 1) tells us is one who maintains living contact with the word of God, who 'delights in the law of the Lord' (v.2).  He is like a tree, planted beside the flowing waters, constantly bringing forth fruit.  The flowing waters, from which he draws nourishment, naturally refer to the living word of God, into which he sinks the roots of his being."*
We cannot allow the anxieties produced by the culture to wreak havoc on the peace of our souls and families.  Prayer must be an essential part of our daily life.  Devotions cannot be done as routine traditions but as acts of love; acts that are woven throughout the day in a spirit of love. We can imagine the happy quietude spent by the Holy Family, the constant self-sacrifice and acts of love done for one another, permeated by the presence of God Himself.  Let us strive to allow Christ to dwell in our hearts and homes by seeking this spirit of quietude.  And let us prepare our homes this Advent to be a domestic church where God is reverenced, adored and loved in our all our thoughts, words and actions.

*Jesus of Nazareth, Vol.III, Pope Benedict XVI