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 12, 2013

December 13th Fast

"The young man said to him, "All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?"  Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be perfect,  go, sell what you have and give to poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."  When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.  Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.  Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God."  When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said, "Who then can be saved?"  Jesus looked at them and said, "For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible."  (Matthew 19:20-26)
 The "gift of self" is a beautiful phrase, used often by Blessed John Paul II, to describe our ultimate calling as men and women.  But standing in awe of beautiful phrases is quite easy compared to actually living those words each day.  Our Lord calls each of His disciples to a spirit of detachment and one might say that its severity varies contingent on the vocation of the one he has called.  Yet, though those called to the supernatural vocations will physically detach themselves from more material items, all are called to loosen their hold on whatever they believe is their own, including comfort, time and security.

It is a natural inclination to seek one's comfort, to relish the precious moments of serenity afforded to him on a given day.  But perhaps there are occasions when those times are not readily available; does one grasp for them then?  Pushing aside others' needs to seek out his own?  Or does he accept that his gift of self, was a total and continuous gift, a daily denial not just a romantic notion.  When Christ said, "leave all that you have and follow me," He did not promise that there would be rest stops at specific intervals along the way. Why?  Because we carry with us that which sustains:
". . . whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
When we offer up our days to the Lord, we also recognize that He directs the happenings of the day: more or less he may ask of us, but always to follow Him, to abandon ourselves to Him in each moment as Our Lady and St. Joseph did from even before the time He was born.  May we follow their example of abandonment and detachment, seeking only to attach ourselves to that which leads us to true happiness in heaven.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

December 6th Fast

"And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out, "Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon."  But he did not say a word in answer to her. His disciples came and asked him, "Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us."  He said in reply, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." But the woman came and did him homage, saying, "Lord, help me."He said in reply, "It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs."  She said, "Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters."Then Jesus said to her in reply, "O woman, great is your faith!  Let it be done for you as you wish." (Matthew 15:21-28)
In his autobiography, Father Patrick Peyton, the Rosary priest who promoted family prayer, recalled a story about the first time he tried to acquire radio time for his message of the family rosary.  He was concerned because the only time allotted to him was restricted to a nondenominational message, and was fearful that Our Lady would not be pleased with his efforts.  A priest friend encouraged him, and told him that Our Lady would be pleased with whatever was given her, even it be only the crumbs.  She would shower her graces through the tiniest opening, for someone who deems herself "God's lowly servant" can fit through even the smallest of spaces.

There are many times in life and marriage, that one must be content with the crumbs. God providentially provides occasions of consolation, and immense joy, times that are meant to be treasured and stored to prepare and strengthen one for the moments they must be satisfied with less.  One must learn to be grateful for what he is given, and not be exasperated at the lack thereof.  Just as he savors the last few bites of a delectable meal, so too he must savor the consolations, small though they may be, that come to him in his daily life.

To pick the scraps off the floor, the crumbs that fall from the table, one must stoop, lowering himself to the ground, humbling himself in the process and acknowledging by his action that he is not great to accept anything so little.  Pride, too often, prevents this, fueling one's annoyance that the scraps are all that is left for him today.

During the Advent season we can remember that Christ, Himself, was content with the "scraps".  He, who could have had any consolation willingly left the place of eternal consolation to be with us.  The Holy Family endured numerous hardships and yet were satisfied with the peace and presence of Christ. Let us too pray that peace reigns in our homes through joyful acceptance.