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.

Friday, November 22, 2013

November 22nd Fast


" Therefore you have the duty to preserve the child and yourself from everything that might jeopardize your honest Christian way of life and that of your children, from everything that could obscure or weaken your faith and theirs, or becloud the purity and brightness and freshness of your soul and theirs."
(Pope Pius XII, April 14, 1943)

When a man and woman marry, they pledge their lives and their love to one another, promising to to be faithful in their thoughts, their hearts, and their actions.  When first found, a love is jealously guarded, and nothing deters one from doing his utmost to ensure his sweetheart is not only loved but cherished and protected from any threatening or corrupting influences. Sometimes, though, one neglects to fortify the walls that were first set up to protect their precious treasure.  They forget that to protect their love, their marriage, their very salvation, each spouse must first protect himself.

We often think of the innocence of children, and earnestly seek to preserve these delicate flowers.  But in addition, we should not forget the innocence of our own souls, first made white in the waters of Baptism.  Age should mature us but not deceive us into believing that the gradual lost of our innocence is inevitable.  Pope Pius XII noted the difficult but necessary process:
" Nature, like the soil, must be worked with the sweat of the brow; one must toil incessantly to weed and uproot evil inclinations and vicious seeds to combat harmful influences. . . "
Blessed John Paul II noted in his Theology of the Body that Adam failed to protect Eve from the serpent.  Yet, Eve also failed to protect Adam from Satan's cunning as well, by doing the work of the devil for him.  They each contributed to the discord that entered their marriage by their false assumption that no harm could come to them, and their false confidence that if it should they could easily recognize and ward it off.  

A man and woman are each given guardianship over the precious treasure that is the soul of their spouse.  To exercise this responsibility properly, they must first recognize it, and humbly ask for the wisdom to discern how to perform their task.  Just as exposing a flower to a harsh climate will cause it to struggle, so too, exposing a spouse to unnecessary temptation will hurt it in its efforts to grow.

Two examples can inspire us to a renewed zeal in our role as protectors.  Saint Cecilia, whose feast is today, had her virtue protected first by her guardian angel and then by her husband St. Valerian after his Baptism.  We would do well to also look to the example of the Blessed Mother, whose innocence was entrusted first to the priests of the Temple, then to St. Joseph, and finally to St. John.  How each must have worked diligently to protect her!  How we might do the same; to protect the other, and to protect ourselves.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

November 15th Fast

". . . Because as yet thou lovest thyself too inordinately, therefore thou art afraid to resign thyself wholly to the will of others.  And yet, what great matter is it, if thou, who art but dust and nothing, subject thyself to a man for God's sake, when I, the Almighty and the Most High, who created all things out of nothing, humbly subjected Myself to man for thy sake?  I became of all men the most humble and the most abject, that thou mightest overcome thy pride with My humility. . . Learn to humble thyself. . . Learn to break thine own wishes, and to yield to thyself to all subjection. . ." 
(Imitation of Christ, Book No. 2, Ch. XIII)
Two oxen, though they are yoked, cannot carry a load very far if they fail to walk in unison.  In the same way, though a couple may be yoked in the bonds of marriage, their ability to move onward to the goal of heaven will be hampered if both spouses do not learn to yield to the other when their wills are at variance.  Yet, even more than this- as the above observation is a rather obvious assessment of the marital vocation- each spouse must learn to trust the other.  Seeing prudence and prayer in place, one should lovingly and obediently subject themselves to the others' thoughtful judgment.  A person may recall that Christ not only called him or her to the married state, but also gave them a specific helpmate.

Pride can too easily worm its way into one's heart, sometimes even making one think he is doing God's will when really he is clinging to his own.  Through the eyes of pride, marriage may appear to be the path to heaven because of the patient endurance of the weaknesses of others; however, through the eyes of humility, we see that it is actually through the strengths and gifts of the other, that one can more easily grow in holiness.

Our dear mother, Mary, was the perfect mother and spouse.  Her example shows a complete trust in God, and in His providential designs.  Twice in her life, she was given to the care of others, and not those immaculately conceived like herself: first to Saint Joseph, and secondly, to Saint John.  She, who was a superior being, willingly subjected herself following the model of her Son who subjected Himself.  May we too learn the humility of the Son and His Mother, and be thankful for the providential designs of the Father who loves us so.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

November 8th Fast

"We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has ever experienced.  I do not think the wide circle of American Society, or the wide circle of the Christian Community realize this fully.  We are now facing the final confrontation between the church and the anti-church, between the Gospel and the anti-gospel, between Christ and the antichrist.  This confrontation lies within the plans of Divine Providence.  It is therefore, in God's Plan, and it must be a trial which the Church must take up, and face courageously. . . 
We must prepare ourselves to suffer great trials before long, such as will demand of us a disposition to give up even life, and a total dedication to Christ and for Christ.  With your and my prayers, it is possible to mitigate the coming tribulation, but it is no longer possible to avert it, because only thus can the Church be effectively renewed.  How many times has the renewal of the Church sprung from the shedding of blood?  This time, too, it will not be otherwise.  We must be strong and prepared and trust in Christ and in His Holy Mother and be very, very assiduous in praying the holy Rosary." 
(Karol Cardinal Wojtyla, November 9, 1976)
From a a political or secular viewpoint, times are uncertain and ever changing, but we know that Christ never changes, nor does His plan for us.  It is important to engage in the world, but in doing so we cannot anchor our hearts to it.  God allows us to feel the insecurity of the world in order to instill in us a greater dependence on Him.

He has given us a pathway to heaven, and the greater the difficulties that come with it, the more abundant the graces He disposes to us. It is folly to anxiously or angrily think about the future days ahead.  It gives God more glory and will draw more people to Him if they instead perform their daily duties with an obedient spirit and a joyful heart.

Our world is in sore need of evangelization, too many live in misery without even realizing it.  Faithful families can and will be the quiet light that draws them out of the darkness.  The wolves may circle the sheepfold, but the Shepherd stands watch ready to guard His sheep from attack.  We must not be fearful of the attacks or temptations to come, but rather through prayer and penance, prepare ourselves for any trials that will arise.

Our Blessed Lady knew from the moment Simeon spoke to her in the Temple that a "sword would pierce her heart", that she would suffer greatly because of the suffering of Her Son.  And yet, though she kept the prophecy in her heart, pondering its meaning, she did not wait anxiously for the coming day, constantly wondering when it would come and dreading the time of its arrival.  Rather, she lived a life of prayer and sacrifice, ever faithful to her vocation as wife and mother. And when the day came for Her Son's "hour", she, herself, started Him on the path to His Passion asking Him to work His first miracle in Cana.  She abandoned herself to God's mercy throughout her life and her trust in Him was firm, formed on the solid foundation of prayer.  Let us turn to her in times of temptation or uncertainty, imploring her assistance and asking her to help us trust in God and have the courage necessary to triumph over trials.