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, April 3, 2014

April 4th, First Friday Fast


"Unhappily, we are apt to think the very least suffering is too much, because we are lovers with our lips rather than our heart, while a true lover of Christ can never have enough of His cross. . .  We open the door when He comes to us as the spouse in the canticles, crowned with lilies, but when He wears His garment of ignominy or His blood-stained robe of which the prophet speaks, we are struck with dread, and would be tempted to shut out our blessed Spouse of Blood, although He is covered with it but to save us. . . This is because we love ourselves much more than we love Him.

We are never strong enough to bear our cross, it is the cross which carries us, nor so weak as to be unable to bear it, since the weakest become strong by its virtue. . . He is the Divine Physician who pays His patient, and gives a great recompense for the smallest pains, tho' we owe these pains to His justice. . . It is God alone we must look at in all that befalls us, small or great, and be persuaded that men and devils combined can do nothing ever so small but what He permits, and He permits no pain or trial whatever to befall us, but for the exercise of our virtue and His glory." (St. Elizabeth Ann Seton)

Family life abounds with joys and beautiful moments, but it also laden with sorrows and heavy crosses.  It is especially in these latter times when the prophecy of Isaiah should come to mind:
". . .He had no form or comeliness that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire Him.  He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom hide their faces He was despised, and we esteemed Him not."  (Isaiah 53:2-3)
It is a difficult thing indeed to accept the cross; it goes against human nature to desire to suffer.  Christ took two names when He came to earth- Emmanuel and Jesus.  The former meaning "God with us" and the latter "God saves".  Christ came to earth to be with us, to live among us and experience our joys and our sorrows, and to teach us that through those sorrows we can be saved.  

As He endured the terrible blows at the pillar, He suffered along with faithful spouses and  innocent children who endure the consequences of the sins of the flesh.  As He sat silently, feeling the piercing thorns, hearing the mocking laughter, being badgered by the many blows and spittle of the soldiers, He suffered along with men who would be belittled by those exercising power over them, men who endure the many humiliations that attend the role as provider.  As He slowly plodded the path up Calvary hill, He suffered along with parents and spouses who must patiently, month after month, year after year, care for a sick or difficult to understand loved one.  As He hung on the Cross, and gave away His closest companion, His dear Mother, He suffered the loneliness that so many feel as widows, as abandoned spouses, as those who feel unloved.

Christ, as the Man of Sorrows, did not only suffer for the sins of men but also suffered to experience the pain, the anguish, the loneliness that so many would endure.  Persecutors often mocked the martyrs saying, "Where is your God now?" to which they would silently reply, "He is with me, suffering as I am."