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 Prayer(s): The Liturgy of the Hours and the Sorrowful Mysteries Rosary
Potential Fast Intention: Those imprisoned, physically and mentally. That Christ may reach each one of them and open up their interior lives to the love, joy and peace found in the Triune God.
Potential Give: Consider connecting with and/or consoling someone out of society’s regular sight this Lent, either in prison or elsewhere, and bring God’s love in some measure to that person.
Fasting Inspiration of the Day: St. Maximillian Kolbe (b. 1894 – d. 1941), patron saint of families, prisoners, journalists, political prisoners, drug addicts, the pro-life movement and the entire 20th century.
“In Auschwitz, where hunger and hatred reigned and faith evaporated, this man opened his heart to others and spoke of God’s infinite love. He seemed never to think of himself. When food was brought in and everyone struggled to get his place in the queue so as to be sure of a share, Fr Maximilian stood aside, so that frequently there was none left for him. At other times he shared his meagre ration of soup or bread with others. He was once asked whether such self-abnegation made sense in a place where every man was engaged in a struggle or survival, and he answered: ‘Every man has an aim in life. For most men it is to return home to their wives and families, or to their mothers. For my part, I give my life for the good of all men.’”
Saint Maximillian willingly took the place of a condemned man in the starvation bunker in Auschwitz, writing his own death sentence, because the man had a wife and children. Even after 14 days in the starvation bunker, he did not die. Rather he was always in prayer on his knees or standing and his face “was radiant” according to reports. The Nazis needed to give him a lethal dose of carbolic acid to end his life on earth.
Comments of the Day: Amazingly, lack of food, even in a place like Auschwitz, did not kill Saint Kolbe; and it appeared to his Nazi captors that it likely may never do so. Why? Because Saint Kolbe relied on spiritual nourishment and ate of the “true food” in his “starvation bunker.” Saint Kolbe shows what an extraordinary life one can give to God even from behind bars, even from behind a place designed to snuff out all hope and will to live like Auschwitz. His love of God and love of neighbor prevailed even in that place, even unto his very last. Saint Kolbe, pray for his to fast out of love for God and our fellow neighbor this Lent!