Friday, March 25, 2016

We Conclude Our Fast at the Foot of the Cross

Today is the last day of our Year of Mercy Novena of Prayer and Fasting.  It is the day when Our Lord said, "Not as I will but as You will" (Matthew 26:39).  Today is also when traditionally the Annunciation is celebrated.  "Behold, the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to Thy will" (Luke 1:38).  The Catholic Church transfers celebration of the Annunciation to April 4th this year.  Yet, nine months from March 25th is Christmas so even though celebration of the Annunciation is transferred, one is aware of the wonderful connection of these dates.  

We set out on this journey of prayer and fasting 9 days ago with the hope that on Good Friday we could say with a humble heart before the Cross, "Thy will be done".  Thus saying, YES, to all God has planned for each of us. 

This morning on our last day of the fast, my children gathered round to hear another chapter of the life of St. Jean Vianney that we are reading together.  The chapter as it turned out was called: Conversion of Ars - Prayer and Penance.  St. Jean Vianney had just been assigned to this new country parish and seeing that many had grown distant from the faith he began to offer prayers and penance for the conversion of his parish.  At the end of the chapter an account is given some years later by St. Jean Vianney to a young priest of Montpellier:

"My friend, the devil is not greatly afraid of the discipline and other instruments of penance. That which beats him is the curtailment of one's food, drink and sleep.  There is nothing the devil fears more, consequently, nothing is more pleasing to God.  Oh! how often have I experienced it!  It happened at times that I refrained from food for entire days. On those occasions I obtained, both for myself and for others, whatsoever I asked of Almighty God".  

This was a beautiful gift to have this reading come this morning.  It reminded the children and I that although our fasting was not as austere as St. Jean Vianney, that during this last day there are great graces to be obtained from Our Lord.  Let us not lose even one single grace.  May we take the time to quiet ourself and ask for all that is in our heart...  share all that is troubling us.  When we set out I mentioned that often when we undertake such a journey seeking only God's Will,  those things in our lives that seem stuck...become unstuck. May we lay everything at the foot of the Cross today.  With Our Blessed Mother beside us, let us surrender everything to His Will. Amen.

Other Posts You May Enjoy:
How to Start a Children's Rosary
Nine Month Novena for Impossible Requests

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