Fast for Peace

As the world wages in ever-increasing social unrest, a shaky economy threatens to impoverish the masses, and politics and media swirl in a deceitful house of mirrors, it can feel like a lone individual is helpless to do ANYTHING against the encroaching, enveloping darkness.

This is far from reality. 

Let's face it: Lucifer has unleashed his Legions upon the world and they're playing for keeps.  As Paul tells us: “our struggle is not with flesh and blood, but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.” (Ephesians 6:12)  Jesus taught us, after expelling a demon, that “this kind can come forth by nothing but by prayer and fasting.” (Mark 9:29)

Fasting, then, provides an effective way to exorcize these demons threatening to rob us of our very souls, and bring healing and wholeness to our world. 

Brass Tacks: What Constitutes a Fast?

An effective fast requires abstaining from something that you enjoy.  If you don't like meat, then giving it up doesn't constitute a fast, but if you LOVE YouTube then abstaining, e.g. one day a week, does.

A fast doesn't mean unhealthy austerity--it's NOT not a return to medieval practices of, say, being scourged before Mass.  And although some Saints lived off the Eucharist alone for several years, for most of us going without any nourishment for more than 5-6 hours would be too long. 

A sacrifice can be as small as pausing to take a drink of water when you're very thirsty.  In the minute or two before you take a sip, you can offer up this small sacrifice to God for your intention: be it world peace, a family member, souls in purgatory, political leaders, the country.

What Should I Give Up?

Sugar, meat, social media, and “screen time” are all suitable fasts.  As I mentioned earlier, simply DELAYING a special treat for a period of time; waiting 45 minutes to eat desert, then offering up the time you wait; is a worthy fast. 

Marija, one of the apparitionists in Medjugorje, facetiously suggested that Europeans could fast on smoking, Americans on Coca-Cola, and Italians on talking.  The Blessed Virgin Mary, in these apparitions, recommends making a “perfect fast” of eating only bread and water for 24 hours every Wednesday and Friday.  (To be honest, I'm rarely able to do this.) 

The Discalced Carmelites of St. Joseph's Monastery in Shoreline, Washington, fast for several months at a time!  However, this isn't a strict bread and water fast. 

Fasting needn't be from food.  A fast or ascetic practice can entail giving up television one night a week, the pillow at night, taking a cold shower (yikes!), not hitting the snooze button in the morning.  It's denying ourselves some of the comforts that we generally enjoy, for the sake of the kingdom. 

Affect the Change

In the 1890s, St. Therese of Lisieux wrote her spiritual autobiography, Story of a Soul, and due to its insights into spirituality, Pope John Paul II named her one of only 33 Doctors of the Church.  The “Little Way” she promulgated consisted of doing small things with great love

God knows our hearts, and judges our motive more than exterior action.  When He sees we've made a sincere sacrifice from the heart, however small, our intention reaches the Throne of Heaven, allowing a torrent of His desperately needed graces to be released upon the world!