1917 Fast Observance Today*: Fasting, maximum food intake is one meal, along with two small meal (that together don’t equate to another full meal). No snacking in between and no alcohol consumption today. No high-caloric “drinks” like milkshakes, smoothies, etc.
*Applicable to healthy adults between ages of 21-60 (some exemptions exist – see 1917 Fast: The Specifics)
1917 Abstinence Observance Today**: Partial abstinence, meaning that meat can be eaten only at the principal meal on these days
**Applicable to all age 7 and over.
Potential Fast Intention: All those apathetic and indifferent. From the Diary of Saint Faustina, Jesus says to her:
“Today bring to Me SOULS WHO HAVE BECOME LUKEWARM,* and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. These souls wound My Heart most painfully. My soul suffered the most dreadful loathing in the Garden of Olives because of lukewarm souls. They were the reason I cried out: ‘Father, take this cup away from Me, if it be Your will.’ For them, the last hope of salvation is to run to My mercy.”
Potential Prayer(s): The Chaplet of Divine Mercy and Day 9 of the Divine Mercy Novena below:
“Most compassionate Jesus, You are Compassion Itself. I bring lukewarm souls into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart. In this fire of Your pure love, let these tepid souls, who, like corpses, filled You with such deep loathing, be once again set aflame. O Most Compassionate Jesus, exercise the omnipotence of Your mercy and draw them into the very ardor of Your love, and bestow upon them the gift of holy love, for nothing is beyond Your power.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon lukewarm souls who are nonetheless enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Father of Mercy, I beg You by the bitter Passion of Your Son and by His three-hour agony on the Cross: Let them, too, glorify the abyss of Your mercy. Amen.”
Potential Give: Consider ways to awaken a soul you know in your life who may be experiencing sloth and spiritual apathy (i.e. acedia).
Fasting Inspiration of the Day: St. Philip Neri (1515-1595), known as the Third Apostle of Rome, after Saints Peter and Paul; patron saint of Rome, Mandaluyong, Philippines, US Special Forces (aka the Green Berets), Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, Piczon Vill, Catbalogan, Philippines, laughter, humor, joy
Though he “appeared not fasting to men”, his …single daily meal was of bread and water, to which a few herbs were sometimes added, the furniture of his room consisted of a bed, to which he usually preferred the floor, a table, a few chairs, and a rope to hang his clothes on; and he disciplined himself frequently with small chains.
Comments of the Day: St. Philip Neri once said that “if you wish to go to extremes, let it be in sweetness, patience, humility and charity.”
Some may think that the 1917 fast is an extreme – as it does goes beyond minimum penitential requirements; but, with an eye to our rich Catholic history, some may say it does not go far enough (think of the Great Fast for instance!)
More rigorous fasts have been practiced by many that have gone before, to include Saint Neri, who supposedly ALWAYS maintained a bread and water fast.
His sustenance came from God and doing God’s will; I always find it amazing how much doing that can take the place of food. In fact, as we have seen from other saints, like St. Catherine of Siena, it can entirely replace the need for food (remember her 7-year Communion-only fast).
But, as St. Neri says, the real extremes we need to go to in our life is in how we love, how we show our happiness to one another, how we express and spread our joy. It is in those virtues that we should be trying to do the unthinkable, the unattainable, the extreme. Mortification, though vital in helping us achieve self-mastery to then attain them better, cannot be our primary goal every day. Love must be, particularly love of the triune God, followed by love of our fellow humans. Ordering our love in the correct way is essential. And we shouldn’t leave it to ourselves to do, but rather place our thoughts and efforts at the foot of Jesus, and ask Him to help lead the way.
For we can do nothing without Him, literally not even your next breath comes from you, but from Him. It is in Him, that we can do all things, He who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).
In this fast, and in all things in life, especially when trying to attain a higher degree of love, let us always remember Luke 18:27, when Jesus says “what is impossible with man is possible with God” and press forward.