Lent 2017

DAY 46: Holy Saturday, April 15th: Fasting and Full Abstinence until 12pm; Feast after 12pm

1917 Fast Observance Today*: Fasting.  Try to eat little to no food until 12pm.

*Applicable to healthy adults between ages of 21-60 (some exemptions exist – see 1917 Fast: The Specifics)

1917 Abstinence Observance Today**: Full abstinence, no meat or meat products may be eaten.

**Applicable to all age 7 and over.

Potential Prayer(s): The Divine Mercy novena and the Sorrowful Mysteries Rosary

Potential Fast Intention: For those in the darkness and for all those who believe they are in hopeless situations.

Potential Give: Count your blessings and share it with a loved one.

Fasting Inspiration of the Day: The Harrowing of Hades.  It is the thought for food today.

Harrowing of Hell

Anastasis (Harrowing of Hell, or Christ in Limbo), Parekklesion of the Chora Church, 1315-21.  Christ is depicted leading Adam and Eve out by the hand.

Today the Lord enters Hades (in Greek) or Sheol (in Hebrew), not Gehenna (in Greek), and opens the doors to those who have went before and died in the faith.  These souls are saved and raised to Heaven when Jesus resurrects on Sunday.

From the Catechism:

“By the expression ‘He descended into Hell’, the Apostles’ Creed confesses that Jesus did really die and through his death for us conquered death and the devil ‘who has the power of death’ (Hebrews 2:14). In his human soul united to his divine person, the dead Christ went down to the realm of the dead. He opened Heaven’s gates for the just who had gone before him.”[11]

From the ancient homily for Holy Saturday (see: http://www.vatican.va/spirit/documents/spirit_20010414_omelia-sabato-santo_en.html):

“The enemy brought you out of the land of paradise; I will reinstate you, no longer in paradise, but on the throne of heaven. I denied you the tree of life, which was a figure, but now I myself am united to you, I who am life. I posted the cherubim to guard you as they would slaves; now I make the cherubim worship you as they would God.

Comments of the Day:  The 1917 fast has ended.  It is complete.  After 12pm today, we can begin our celebration of Christ’s resurrection as we will soon finish with the Triduum and enter the liturgical season of Easter.

I hope any of you who are still following along at this point J enjoyed it as much as I did.  I have a list of things I learned that I want to share with you on Easter Sunday for the last post on this blog.  If you did, please send in a comment or two on this post or on tomorrow’s if you’d like.  I’d love to hear it!

May you have a blessed Easter Sunday with our Lord and those around you!

Lent 2017

DAY 45: Good Friday, April 14th (Fasting and Full Abstinence)

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**: Full abstinence, no meat or meat products may be eaten.

**Applicable to all age 7 and over.

Potential Prayer(s): Today is the start of the Divine Mercy novena that ends on Divine Mercy Sunday, 4/23, and the Sorrowful Mysteries Rosary.

Potential Fast Intention: For all of us, as we all crucified Christ.

Potential Give: Finish anything that you have been putting off this Lent to do for someone else.

Fasting Inspiration of the Day:  Christ crucified.

good_friday_015 

“Christ reconciled four worlds by destroying two barriers: one horizontal, separating the Jews from the Pagans, the other vertical, which had removed mankind from God.”  — St. Gregory of Nyssa

Comments of the Day: Today is the day we are saved and redeemed.  Today is the day we are able to break the bonds of sin put in place by Adam and Eve’s disobedience and become adopted children of God. 

The very word “excruciating” comes from two Latin words: ex cruciatus, or out of the cross.  It is a pain that is unlike any other, and only comes from the pain of crucifixion.

Generally, death from crucifixion comes from exhaustion and asphyxiation as sufferers are kept on their crosses sometimes for days until that occurs. Our Lord suffered the most painful torture for us, on a wooden beam which is made up of splinters of our sin.  The least we can do is to meditate on His suffering, and pray and fast for His forgiveness and grace.crucifixion-i

From http://www.theotokos.org/?page_id=1736

  • The Crucifixion took place outside the walls of Jerusalem (as depicted in this icon) to express not only the people’s rejection of the Messiah, but also the universal character of the Sacrifice. It is likewise a reminder that those who follow Christ are exiles of this world.
  • Christ’s agony on the Cross: “O God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me…” (Ps. 22:1) was neither a sign of weakness nor loss of Faith in His Father but rather the recitation of Psalm 22. One of the Fathers said: “Christ became sin for us though He knew no sin. He became a curse for us, though He was the Blessed of God.”
  • A hymn in contemplation to this event said: “Today is hung upon the Tree, He Who hung the earth upon the waters. A crown of thorns crowns Him Who is King of Angels. He is wrapped about with purple of mockery Who wrapped the Heavens with clouds. He received buffetings Who received Adam in the Jordan. He was transfixed with nails Who is the Bridegroom of the Church. He was pierced with a spear Who is the Son of the Virgin. We worship Thy Passion, O Christ; show also unto us Thy Glorious Resurrection.”
  • John Chrysostom affirms that Adam’s tomb is said to have been at Golgotha and an earthquake exposed his skull.
Lent 2017

DAY 43: Holy Wednesday, April 12th (Fasting and Partial Abstinence) (a.k.a. “Spy” or “Good” Wednesday in the Western Church and “Holy and Great Wednesday” in the Eastern church)

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.

Spy Wednesday

Potential Prayer(s): The Liturgy of the Hours and the Sorrowful Mysteries Rosary

Potential Fast Intention: For those that betray or disavow God.

Potential Give: Be a witness of your faith to someone struggling with theirs.

Fasting Inspiration of the Day: Matthew 4:1-4 NABRE

The Temptation of Jesus.

1* a Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2b He fasted for forty days and forty nights,* and afterwards he was hungry. 3The tempter approached and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread.” 4* He said in reply, “It is written:c

‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.’”

Comments of the Day: Traditionally, the Church encourages the faithful to fast every Wednesday and Friday; Wednesday because that is seen to be the day that Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus and Friday because that is the day the Lord suffered and died for us.  However, Wednesday is the day that Judas spies an opportunity to betray Jesus.  Judas then commits the actual betrayal of Jesus after leaving the Last Supper on Thursday.

Pact of Judas_1308-11_Siena_Museo dell'Opera del Duomo.jpeg

Duccio, Judas Accepts the Bribe, 1308-1311. Siena, Museo dell’Opera del Duomo

Tomorrow will focus on the chronology of the Last Supper a bit more, but today, we should work on identifying those inclinations that repel or separate us from the Lord.  Those inclinations that we know have led us in the past to sin, either venially or mortally.  Let us continue build our spiritual arsenal through fasting, praying and giving, so we can find those inclinations and root them out even more today.

Today is officially the last full day of Lent.   Tomorrow evening marks the beginning of the Easter Triduum ,which ends the evening of Easter Sunday.  The 1917 fast extends until 12pm on Holy Saturday, so continue to persevere in fasting as best you can until then! God bless!

Lent 2017

DAY 42: Holy Tuesday, April 11th (Fasting and Partial Abstinence)

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: For those active and retired clergy, whose lives are dedicated to the service of the Church and who work hard to deliver many of the liturgical services we experience this Holy Week.

Potential Give: Consider donating to the Clergy Health and Retirement Trust, which cares “for the health, well-being, and long-term needs of the priests who serve our Archdiocese of Boston.”

Fasting Inspiration of the Day: Gospel of Mark 9:20-28 RSVCE

And they brought the boy to him; and when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. 21 And Jesus[d] asked his father, “How long has he had this?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 And it has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if you can do anything, have pity on us and help us.” 23 And Jesus said to him, “If you can! All things are possible to him who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out[e] and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” 25 And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You dumb and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again.” 26 And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse; so that most of them said, “He is dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. 28 And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” 29 And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting.”[f]

Comments of the Day: Fasting sometimes sounds like it is just a nice or good thing for us to do; perhaps as an add-on, something to try out here and there, to incorporate into our busy lives.

In reality, fasting, like prayer and almsgiving, is one of the most powerful spiritual weapons we have.  In Mark 9:28, we learn that even Jesus’ disciples cannot cast out the evil spirit from the boy.  Instead, the evil spirit is only cast out by prayer AND fasting.

Picture1.pngAt a subconscious level, I think we know this.  Any spiritual weapon is one where we allow God to increase in us as we decrease.  Evil spirits have a much more difficult time to co-opt us into temptation and convince us to sin if we are tempering our desires and conversing and praying to God throughout the day.

As Saint Basil the Great says,

“Fasting is a good safeguard for the soul, a steadfast companion for the body, a weapon for the valiant, and a gymnasium for athletes. Fasting repels temptations, anoints unto piety; it is the comrade of watchfulness and the artificer of chastity. In war it fights bravely, in peace it teaches stillness. – St. Basil the Great

Let us put on the armor of fasting today so that we may fight and conquer the spiritual battles we face!

 

Lent 2017

DAY 41: Holy Monday, April 10th (Fasting and Partial Abstinence)

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: For baptized, but fallen away Catholics – that the New Evangelization may return them to the Church

Potential Give: Partake in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Adoration sometime this Holy Week!

Fasting Inspiration of the Day: Matthew 6:16-18 NJB

16 ‘When you are fasting, do not put on a gloomy look as the hypocrites do: they go about looking unsightly to let people know they are fasting. In truth I tell you, they have had their reward.

17 But when you fast, put scent on your head and wash your face,

18 so that no one will know you are fasting except your Father who sees all that is done in secret; and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.

Jesus fasting.jpeg

Comments of the Day: Today, we enter the home stretch – Holy Week! This week the theo-drama that unfolds in the Passion builds to a crescendo in Good Friday, and ends with the Resurrection, Sunday.

This Biblical passage from the Gospel of Matthew initially gave me pause when creating this site.  Should I be publicly promoting fasting and a fasting site if God only rewards those who fast in secret?

Well after some good Catholic counsel from a former theology professor, I discerned it was still a good idea to move forward and create the site back in February.  I wouldn’t be promoting my own fasting, but rather the importance and beauty of the practice thereof, in an effort to build a community of like-minded people who want to go beyond the minimum penitential rites this season.

On a deeper level, I’ve also come to find that fasting is not an end in and of itself, but rather a means; a means of encountering the “true fast” – the one where we work to purge ourselves from our-self, at least the one that is built upon Original Sin, and the downstream generational and personal sins that flow into our lives from that long-ago break with God’s grace.

Fasting does not score points with God, the omniscient referee, who can see all our good and bad acts.  No, fasting allows us to empty ourselves so that we can refill our souls with the Holy Spirit.  In so doing, we truly fast and achieve our “reward” which is to become more like Jesus and less like our sinful nature.  If it is JUST about not eating a meal or not drinking that coffee, then we are doing it wrong.  In fact, we could be tempted to believe we are scoring those points and gaining favor with God, when in fact, we are just building up our pride and potentially damaging our spiritual life moreso.  The saints have said similar things in many different, more succinct and holier ways, but the essence is the same.

Here is to a blessed Holy Week that eliminates more of our sins as we fast, and adds more God into our hearts!

Lent 2017

DAY 39: Saturday, April 8th morning/afternoon (Fasting and Full Abstinence); evening/Vigil (Feast)

1917 Fast Observance Today Through Afternoon*: Fasting, maximum food intake is one meal, along with two snacks (that together don’t equate to a meal).  No snacking in between that and no alcohol consumption today.

*Applicable to healthy adults between ages of 21-60 (some exemptions exist – see 1917 Fast: The Specifics)

1917 Abstinence Observance Today Through Afternoon**: Full abstinence. No meat or meat products.

**Applicable to all age 7 and over.

Potential Prayer:  The Sorrowful Mysteries Rosary.

Potential Fast Intention: Those who are suffering the pain of losing someone close to them.

Potential Give: Console someone suffering or bereaving.

Fasting Inspiration for the Day: Saint Paul, the Apostle, author of 14 of 27 books in the New Testament, founder of at least 14 churches to include the Eastern Orthodox Church, patron saint of missionaries, evangelists, writers, journalists, authors, public workers, rope and saddle makers, and tent makers.

Peter-and-Paul-Byz.jpeg

The Apostles Peter (l) and Paul (r)

Saint Paul lived a life of suffering and zeal.  He was also a prolific writer.  In addition to authoring 14 of the books of the New Testament, he wrote several of the 77 or so references to fasting found in the Bible.  His trials, tribulations and sufferings are only partially described in 2nd Corinthians 11:24-28:

24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. 25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. 28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.

Since 2 Corinthians was written in 57 A.D. and recorded sufferings Paul had endured up to the time of the writing, the list would encompass the first 21 years of Paul’s 31-year ministry, but would not include the last 11 years of his life and work. Thus, the list would not include:

  1. The 4th and final year of the 3rd missionary journey.
  2. Paul’s arrest and treatment in Jerusalem.
  3. Paul’s two-year imprisonment in Jerusalem.
  4. Paul’s perilous journey from Caesarea to Rome that included:
  5. Another shipwreck
  6. A snakebite
  7. Paul’s first Roman imprisonment in Caesarea.
  8. Paul’s “house arrest” imprisonment in Rome.
  9. The three-to-four year period between the first and second Roman imprisonment.
  10. Paul’s second Roman imprisonment which resulted in his execution.

Saint Paul suffered a martyr’s death in 67 A.D., when it is believed that the Roman Emperor Nero had Saint Paul beheaded.

Many times we find in the book of Acts that the Apostles “prayed and fasted” together whenever undertaking a task or mission.

Comments of the Day: Reflecting on Saint Paul’s life of suffering make so many of our own lives seem a lot less difficult.  But as Saint Paul says, he would much rather have all those sufferings if it allows him to better know our Lord.

If we, for whatever reason, are dealing with sufferings, challenges and difficulties this Lent, let us turn to Saint Paul as another source of inspiration to fight the good fight and keep the faith strong, lively and loving despite them.

Saint Paul, like so many of our early Christian brothers and sisters, experienced innumerable sufferings, but endured to keep the faith and pass it on to so that others may better know our Lord, particularly through the Church.   These sacrifices should always give us pause and inspiration in any difficult moment we encounter.  As we celebrate Palm Sunday tonight or tomorrow, let us pray and thank all those who helped to build the actual Churches we enter to worship our Lord! For God’s glory!

Lent 2017

DAY 38: Friday, April 7th (Fasting and Full Abstinence)

1917 Fast Observance Today*: Fasting, maximum food intake is one meal, along with two snacks (that together don’t equate to a meal).  No snacking in between that and no alcohol consumption today.

*Applicable to healthy adults between ages of 21-60 (some exemptions exist – see 1917 Fast: The Specifics)

1917 Abstinence Observance Today**: Full abstinence, meaning that no meat or meat products may be eaten.

**Applicable to all age 7 and over.

Potential Prayer(s): Stations of the Cross; the Sorrowful Mysteries Rosary

Potential Fast Intention: For those who do not examine their conscience daily; that God may compel them to quiet themselves to the point of opening their hearts to the Holy Spirit to search, identify and instruct those in matters of the faith.

Potential Give: Perform a corporal and spiritual work of mercy this Lent.

Fasting Inspiration of the Day: Pope Saint Leo the Great, (b. 400 – d. 461), Doctor of Unity for the Church, the 10th longest reigning Pope of all time.

Saint Leo was “a Roman aristocrat, and was the first pope to have been called “the Great”. He is perhaps best known for having met Attila the Hun in 452 and persuading him to turn back from his invasion of Italy. He is most remembered theologically for issuing the Tome of Leo, a document which was a major foundation to the debates of the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon.”

Leoattila-Raphael

The Meeting of Leo the Great and Atila,

(fresco painted by Rafael in 1514, Apostolic Palace, Vatican City)

From a Sermon by Pope Saint Leo the Great:

“For what can be more salutary for us than fasting, by the practice of which we draw nigh to God, and, standing fast against the devil, defeat the vices that lead us astray…

For fasting was ever the food of virtue.  From abstinence there arise chaste thoughts, just decisions, salutary counsels.  And through voluntary suffering the flesh dies to the concupiscences, and the spirit waxes strong in virtue.  But as the salvation of our souls is not gained solely by fasting, let us fill up what is wanting in our fasting with almsgiving to the poor.  Let us give to virtue what we take from pleasure.  Let the abstinence of the man who fasts be the dinner of a poor man.  Let us have thought for the protection of the widow, for the welfare of the orphan, for the comforting of those that mourn, for the peace of those who live in discord.  Let the stranger be given shelter.”

Comments of the Day:  Saint Leo strongly advocated the works of mercy toward others so we can show true Christianity.  In his sermon, Saint Leo describes fasting as almost a gateway virtue.  If done well and alongside prayer, it opens up many doors to the spiritual life, and to an increase in the works of mercy.

Corporal Works of Mercy:

  • To feed the hungry;
  • Give drink to the thirsty;
  • Clothe the naked;
  • Shelter the homeless;
  • Visit the sick;
  • Visit the imprisoned;
  • Bury the dead.

SPIRITUAL WORKS OF MERCY:

  • To counsel the doubtful;
  • Instruct the ignorant;
  • Admonish sinners;
  • Comfort the afflicted;
  • Forgive offenses;
  • Bear wrongs patiently;
  • Pray for the living and the dead.

May the Holy Spirit continue to break open our hearts and instruct our minds as to how we can best perform these works in our lives, this Lent and beyond!

Lent 2017

DAY 37: Thursday, April 6th (Fasting and Partial Abstinence)

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: For those suffering in some way related to the terrible St. Petersburg subway bombing and the Syrian chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun.  May God turn these tragedies into something much more positive, soon, for the people involved, all for His greater glory.

Potential Give: Help a neighbor with a task this Lent.

Fasting Inspiration of the Day: St. Basil the Great (b. 329 – 379), Doctor of the Church, “revealer of heavenly mysteries,” patron saint of Russia, Cappadocia, Hospital administrators, Reformers, Monks, Education, Exorcism, Liturgists

Basil was responsible for defining the terms ousia (essence/substance) and hypostasis (person/reality), and for defining the classic formulation of three Persons in one Nature. His single greatest contribution was his insistence on the divinity and consubstantiality of the Holy Spirit with the Father and the Son.

St. Basil the Great preached on fasting in several homilies.  Below are some quotes from those homilies (one source is here: http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2011/03/st-basil-greats-homily-on-fasting-1-of.html):

51hE4nU5EtL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

“Fasting gives birth to prophets and strengthens the powerful; fasting makes lawgivers wise. Fasting is a good safeg

uard for the soul, a steadfast companion for the body, a weapon for the valiant, and a gymnasium for athletes. Fasting repels temptations, anoints unto piety; it is the comrade of watchfulness and the artificer of chastity. In war it fights bravely, in peace it teaches stillness.”

“For satiety brings delight to the stomach, whereas fasting brings profit to the soul. Be of good cheer, for the physician has given you a medicine that destroys sin. For, just as the tapeworms that breed in the intestines of children are obliterated by certain very pungent drugs, so also fasting — a remedy truly worthy of its appellation, when introduced into the soul, kills off the sin that lurks deep within it.”

St Basil

Comments of the Day: Let us internalize these teachings from the great Doctor of the Church, St. Basil and be a “real faster.” Let us continue to “withdraw from all evil” this Lent, and receive a taste of that true goodness, so that we can carry it forward into the Easter season and truly eat with our Lord once He is risen this coming liturgical season! God bless!

Lent 2017

DAY 36: Wednesday, April 5th (Fasting and Partial Abstinence)

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: To follow in the footsteps of St. Vincent Ferrer and pray for healing the Great Schism, and in reunifying the two great lungs of the Church, the East (Orthodox) and the West (Roman Catholic).

Potential Give: Consider helping the Church in some way as it prepares for the ever busy Holy Week!

Fasting Inspiration of the Day: St. Vincent Ferrer (1350–1419), whose feast day is today.

Vincent-Ferrer

  • Vincent helped restore unity to the Church during the Great Western Schism, when three different men claimed to be pope. Vincent supported the wrong man during the Great Western Schism. When he learned his mistake, he told people to support the true pope.
  • In order to subdue his passions, he fasted rigorously from his childhood every Wednesday and Friday. He did so for 40 years.
  • His gift of miracles, and the sanctity of his penitential life, gave to his words the greatest weight.
  • He would help the poor and distribute alms to them.
  • Vincent received a vision from St. Dominic and St. Francis, in which they told him to “go through the world and preach Christ.”
  • After this vision, he sang mass every morning, preached two or three times every day, spent time hearing confessions, and prepared his sermon for the next day as he traveled from town to town across Europe.
  • He never ate meat, fasted every day except Sunday, and slept on hay or small twigs at night.

Comments of the Day: We have entered the home stretch – 10 days until our Lenten fast ends and Easter season begins!  Now is a good time to recommit and stay close to the fast, and where possible, go deeper into the spiritual life, through prayer, alms and interior and exterior moritifcations.

St. Vincent powerful oratory is thought to be due in part to his consistent penitential practices.  Let us remember the source of his strength as we stay with our Lord another 10 days in the desert!

St. Vincent Ferrer, pray for us!

Lent 2017

DAY 35: Tuesday, April 4th (Fasting and Partial Abstinence)

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: That those who rely or use technology regularly, may use it wisely, for God and to benefit the greatest amount of people.

Potential Give: To rediscover an uncured/hidden/dormant talent this Lent and to develop it so you can give the fruits of your labors to more for the glory of God, who gave it to you J.

Fasting Inspiration of the Day: Pope Saint John Paul II, the Great (“JPII”), b. 1920 – d. 2005, patron saint of young Catholics and families, the second longest serving pope in modern history, the first non-Italian to hold the pontificate in more than 500 years.

Saint JPII

JPII beatified 1,340 people and canonized 483 saints, more than the combined tally of his predecessors in the preceding five centuries.  I remember overhearing a Cardinal once say, jokingly, that if he had to go, he hoped it would be during JPII’s pontificate since his chances of being declared a saint afterwards seemed so much higher!

Amazingly, JPII earned both a doctorate in Sacred Theology and a doctorate in philosophy, which provided him, in my estimation, a well-formed view of the human person and the human condition.  He leveraged both to create, almost single-handedly, the Theology of the Body, which, I believe, is the antidote for much of the illnesses seen in modern culture, particularly in the West, surrounding interpersonal relations, as well as sexual and gender identity, among others.

He also learned at least 12 languages, 9 of which he would regularly use during his pontificate. For these reasons, and many more, many Catholics now refer to him as “the Great.”

JPII also practiced self-flagellated, and regularly prayed and fasted.

On Ash Wednesday 2003, JPII told his audience:

Fasting “has great value,” as “it is a need of the spirit to relate better to God.”  Fasting reflects “a sincere desire for interior purification, willingness to obey the divine will, and thoughtful solidarity toward brothers, particularly the poorest,” he added. “There is, then, a close link between fasting and prayer. To pray is to listen to God and fasting favors this openness of heart,” John Paul II stressed.

At his Angelus Address on March 10, 1996, he said:

  1. The penitential practices suggested by the Church especially during this Lenten season include fasting. This means special moderation in the consumption of food except for what is necessary to maintain one’s strength. This traditional form of penance has not lost its meaning; indeed, perhaps it ought to be rediscovered, especially in those parts of the world and in those circumstances where not only is there food in plenty but where one even comes across illnesses from overeating…Fasting is to reaffirm to oneself what Jesus answered Satan when he tempted him at the end of his 40 days of fasting in the wilderness: “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Mt 4:4). . .
  1. . . . One of the meanings of penitential fasting is to help us recover an interior life. The effort of moderation in food also extends to other things that are not necessary, and this is a great help to the spiritual life. Moderation, recollection and prayer go hand in hand. This principle can be appropriately applied to the mass media. Their usefulness is indisputable, but they must not become the “masters” of our life. In how many families does television seem to replace personal conversation rather than to facilitate it! A certain “fasting” also in this area can be healthy, both for devoting more time to reflection and prayer, and for fostering human relations.
  1. . . . Mary is the model to whom we can all look. Let us ask her to give us the secret of that “spiritual fast” which sets us free from the slavery of things, strengthens our soul and makes it ever ready to meet the Lord.

JPII over the years

JPII: Through the years of his pontificate

Comments of the Day: I was very fortunate for having grown up and reverted to my faith during JPII’s pontificate.  It was almost as if I could feel him encouraging and praying for me to return.  He truly made a difference in my spiritual life and inspired me to be a better Catholic.  His funeral was one of the most amazing things I’ll ever see in my lifetime and was one of those moments that just made me stand still in my soul in awe.

From Wikipedia:

Pope John Paul’s funeral brought together what was, at the time, the single largest gathering in history of heads of state outside the United Nations,[3] surpassing the funeral of Winston Churchill (1965). Four kings, five queens, at least 70 presidents and prime ministers, and more than 14 leaders of other religions attended, alongside the faithful.[4] It is likely to have been one of the largest single gathering of Christianity in history, with numbers estimated in excess of four million mourners gathering in Rome alone.[5][6][7]

Not only was he an inspiration and so likeable, but he also committed himself and others to practice mortifications to move forward in the spiritual life.  Fasting was high on that list.  If he was Pope again today, I am confident he would especially encourage this practice, given the increasing level of pleasure, comfort and consumerism experienced in advanced, Western democracies (e.g. Amazon Prime 1-hour delivery service, anyone?).  As he said, eat only what you need during this time; it is interesting to find that “need” diminishes as a function of a deepening prayer life.

Let us celebrate our catholicity today as we fast in honor of JPII! May he continue to guide and pray for us in Heaven!