Sunday, March 30, 2014

Prayer and Fasting`Lent 5

     Prayer and fasting cause a holy peace to flourish deep within our souls. Therefore, during a fast, it is not unusual for the evil one to attack with external (usually interpersonal) disruptions, provoking an internal "crankiness". Our obligation to forgive others coincides with a necessary examination of our own conscience. Our hearts must be willing to repent.How humbling it is to confront that for which we require forgiveness! This can be more painful than the struggle against cravings for things of this world. We may even be tempted to give up praying and fasting. The strength to persevere comes from total reliance on Jesus. We are then free to experience the peace that comes from forgiveness and acceptance of God's will.
 "And Jesus said, 
'Father forgive them 
for they know not what they do.'"
Luke 23:34 
Douay Rheims Roman Catholic Bible


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Prayer and Fasting~Lent 4

     Generosity is a natural outcome of prayer and fasting. Alms giving, as well as offering time and service, stem from a holy root of self denial. The focus is gracefully removed from satisfying the whims of the appetite. There is a heightened awareness of the needs of others. Hunger shifts from the need to feed the self to a holy inclination to provide for our neighbor. Greed releases its grip in favor of a willingness to serve. The unreasonable fear of not having enough is supernaturally lifted. Giving without measuring is pleasing to the heart. Material possessions and social status are all too frequently an avenue of ensnarement by the evil one.  Prayer and fasting miraculously transform the craving for applause into a yearning for a closeness to the Heart of Jesus.

"And when you fast, be not as the hypocrites, sad. For they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Amen I say to you, they have received their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thy head, and wash thy face. That thou appear not to men to fast, but to thy Father who is in secret, and thy Father who seeth in secret will repay thee. Lay not up to yourselves treasures on earth, where rust and moth consume, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up to yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither rust nor moth doth consume and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also." 
Matthew 6:16-21
Douay Rheims Roman Catholic Bible


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Prayer and Fasting~Lent 3

    "And the Lord said to Moses: stretch out thy hand towards heaven and may there be darkness upon the land of Egypt so thick that it may be felt." Exodus 10:21 Douay Rheims Roman Catholic Bible
     The Pharaoh's hideous stubbornness was graphically portrayed by Almighty God's chastisement of him. Through Moses, the Lord enveloped the Pharaoh in a tangible darkness. Prayer and fasting supernaturally dissolve thick apathy and resistance to God's unconditional love, opening our hearts to grace filled forgiveness. Our Lenten sacrifices remove shadowy cloaks of hard heartedness and lift blinding burdens of condemnation. We miraculously become free to forgive and to be forgiven!
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!
       "How great is the mercy of the Lord, and His forgiveness to them that turn to Him!" 
Ecclesiasticus 17:28 (Deuterocanonical) 
Douay Rheims Roman Catholic Bible

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Prayer and Fasting~Lent 2

     Prayerful fasting powerfully strengthens our intimacy with God. The first act of obedient fasting He required of mankind was to refrain from eating from a specific tree in the Garden of Eden. Our union with our Lord is so threatening to the evil one that he attempts to pervert even our most sincere efforts at fasting. Our souls can be driven away from our Heavenly Father by succumbing to temptations ranging from excessive eating to unhealthy distortions of fasting. May Jesus protect us and our loved ones from deception as we endeavor to draw closer to Him this Lent.
     And the Lord God took man and put him into the paradise of pleasure to dress it and to keep it. And He commanded him saying, "Of every tree of paradise thou shalt eat. But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat. For in what day soever thou shalt eat of it, thou shalt die the death." Genesis Chapter 2 Verses 15-17 Douay Rheims Roman Catholic Bible
     Now the serpent was more subtle than any of the beasts of the earth which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, "Why hath God commanded you that you should not eat of every tree of paradise?" And the woman answered him saying, "Of the fruit of the trees that are in paradise we do eat. But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of paradise, God hath commanded us that we should not eat, and that we should not touch it, lest perhaps we die." And the serpent said to the woman, "No, you shall not die the death. For God doth know that in what day soever you shall eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened and that you shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil." 
Genesis Chapter 3 Verses 1-5 
Douay Rheims Roman Catholic Bible

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Prayer and Fasting~Lent 1

The Holy Gospel teaches us that the disciples of Jesus were powerless to resolve the mental affliction of a young boy. It must have been frightening and exhausting for the both the child and his father. Jesus illustrates the role of faith, trust and surrender to His Will, when facing any seemingly insurmountable crisis. It takes faith to turn away from earthly distractions and ineffective solutions to problems. Daily tasks and concerns absorb precious minutes and hours with the greatest urgency. Spending time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and actively seeking spiritual nourishment requires faith that Our Blessed Lord is in control of every outcome. His Will for our lives is perfect and holy. Prayer and fasting help us to recognize and obey God's will for us.
~Jesus spoke to the father of the child~
 "And Jesus saith unto him: If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth." Mark 9:22
~The disciples asked Jesus why they were unable 
to cast the demon spirit form the child~
  "And He said to them: This kind can go out 
by nothing but by prayer and fasting." Mark 9:28
From the Gospel of Mark Chapter 9 
Douay Rheims Roman Catholic Bible

See Also:

Saturday, March 01, 2014

About Fasting

           I write this out of loving concern for those who may not understand the true nature and value of Christian fasting. 
     We know that Our Lord holds very dear within His heart persons afflicted with eating disorders, emotional infirmity and medical conditions, who may feel that they are unable or unworthy to receive the blessings of fasting. Regardless of physical or emotional condition or state of life, Our Heavenly father loves all of His children without measure. 
     Christian fasting is a prayer filled experience, through which we are supernaturally  guided by the Holy Spirit to grow closer to Our Lord. There are many variations of fasting. For example, juice fasting and strict adherence to medically prescribed meal plans are valid and powerfully spiritually rewarding types of fasts.
     Fasting, as prescribed by the Roman Catholic Church has very specific guidelines, with consideration given to age and state of health. Holy obedience and self denial are paramount features of a Christian fast. They beautifully demonstrate trust in our God, who loves us unconditionally. In Christian fasting we turn away from earthly desires. Our motivation is to be drawn more closely to Christ in every thought, word and action. Our hearts are more receptive to the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. We are free to surrender to His perfect and holy will for us. 
     Persons with medical ailments or eating disorders should not embark on a total fast, rather they should seek the advice of their priest and physician with regards to an alternate yet fitting holy sacrifice. Examples can be found in the spiritual and corporal Works of Mercy. Attending Mass more frequently, Eucharistic Adoration, and increased time devoted to prayer and scripture are other examples. May our Blessed Lord Jesus bless you abundantly on your fasting journey.
Please see: