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Friday, March 3, 2006

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St. Katharine Drexel

Isaiah 58:1-9
Psalm 51
Matthew 9:14-15

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a heart beating fast

"When the day comes that the Groom is taken away, then they will fast." —Matthew 9:15

We are on the third day of forty days of fasting in imitation of Jesus. Fasting is one of the major ways we exercise our authority over the devil (Mt 17:21, NAB). It is one of the most important means the Lord has chosen to convert the world to His gospel.

The international effects of fasting begin with its individual, personal effects. When we change, the world begins to change. Fasting brings to the surface those things in the deep recesses of our hearts. Fasting does not cause irritability or compassion but surfaces what is already deep in our hearts. Sometimes a day of fasting will end in "quarreling and fighting, striking with wicked claw" (Is 58:4). We will manifest a selfish preoccupation with our "own pursuits" (Is 58:3). We will place unreasonable expectations on others (Is 58:3). At other times, fasting will end in true freedom, deep compassion for the poor, and light from the Holy Spirit (Is 58:6-8).

At the end of a day of fasting, we should thank the Lord for the good that has surfaced and repent of the evil that has come forth. We should ask for forgiveness and healing. If we do this every day for the forty days of Lent, our hearts will be purified, and out of the abundance of our hearts we will win the world for Christ.

Prayer:  Father, when I fast, may my stomach growl and my heart wrench in repentance.

Promise:  "Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer, you shall cry for help, and He will say: Here I am!" —Is 58:9

Praise:  St. Katharine was so "mindful of the poor" (Gal 2:10) that she gave her twenty million dollar inheritance and the last sixty-four years of her life to serve Jesus in the poor.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our leaflet, The Secret of Fasting, or on audio AV 46-1 or on video V-46.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Daniel E. Pilarczyk, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 16, 2005

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