Fasting is hard. So is remembering to fast when you’re not in the habit. Well, as to that remembering part, here’s something that might work. Ask God for this grace: For the remainder of these 40 days, Lord, when my feet hit the floor in the morning, let it be a reminder to me that You desire that I fast from something today.
Of course, we’re all different. So when it comes to fasting, it’s good to recognize that. Some people like the approach of giving up one thing, say chocolate, for the entire 40 days. If that’s the way you prefer to fast then when your feet hit the floor you will be reminded once again that today is a day when God (in a certain sense) will get the chocolate you would really have loved to enjoy. And then God, being God, will not keep that gift you gave Him for Himself. Instead, He will transform it so that hearts and minds (and lives) can be changed forever. [Pretty awesome thought, huh?]
But maybe for you, giving up the same thing each day just doesn’t seem to work so well. OK, no problem. When your feet hit the floor it can be the signal for you and God to have a little discussion about what – just for that day – should be offered up to Him. Maybe it will be your morning coffee (or tea), or maybe having the radio or TV on as you get yourself ready in the morning. Maybe it will mean sacrificing dessert for dinner for just that day. Or maybe, if you’re feeling really generous…the internet.
While I hate fasting as much as the next guy, I’ve found that, like exercise, once you start doing it, it’s not really that bad. In fact, after a good routine gets established, I find myself feeling capable of doing a little more – and even desiring to do more. [And that has to be evidence of the supernatural at work, because it sure ain’t the natural part of me desiring it.]
And remember this: No sacrifice is ever too small. I’m reminded of this constantly because of a quote my wife shared with me several years ago which has never left me:
“Pick up a pin for the love of God,
and count the day well spent.”
St. Thérèse of Lisieux
God bless you all,
Read on for stories and photos from today’s vigil on the sidewalk!
Early morning shift manager, Tim, wrote:
The early fall day 4 started with a beautiful sunrise and crisp temperatures but the sun came between the buildings and warmed away the chill. You could feel God’s presence with us. It was like something big was happening. There was a positive energy in the air. The early still dark 7 am vigil started with the cheerful folks of St Joseph in Verona lead by Fr Ed. Fr Jason and his team from Holy Trinity in Carnegie joined in the prayers a little later. As usual Bill Harrison was there pre 6:45 AM to await Dianne’s delivery of the ‘stuff’. The bin of stuff was most helpful as there were questions about the ‘pledge of peace’, how to converse with clinic workers and whether Catholic Charities was open for re-directs (the binder cover says ‘yes’ they are open on Saturday). Almost all vigil participants wore signs and made a powerful witness to all passing by. Regular Saturday sidewalk counselors Meredith, David and Cathy were there. Liz came by with her mother at 9 to take the 9-11 AM shift.
Late morning shift manager, Liz, wrote:
I arrived at PP this morning with my my ” secret weapon”. My mother, she is 93 y/o and uses a wheelchair but I believe she is as close to the angels and saints as anyone in this life is allowed to be. She is a virtual ‘prayer machine’. She found out where I was going this Sat morning and was up before dawn to make sure I would take her. God blessed us with warm weather and a parking spot just a few doors down from PP.
The street on both sides of PP were filled with parishioners from St Joseph Church in Verona, as well as Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church in Carnegie. Their Pastor Fr. Jason originally from Ukraine. It was such a blessing and an inspiration to all of us to have such a devout and faithful group singing and praying as the doors of PP opened and closed…
I was joined at 9 am by a large group from St Michael’s Church in Wheeling. They came prepared for spiritual warfare with their own song and prayer books. A lovely family from Steubenville also joined us in prayer.
Maggie managed the vigil from 11am-1pm and wrote:
I had Washington alliance with me until 12:15, they were hesitant to leave me alone and I am so grateful to them for their concern. A family from Steuben ville, a colleague from seton-la Salle and her husband, Bill another shift Manager, and for about 15 minutes the Baptist Church from Swissvale had a member there. We had time in prayer and uplifting conversation. After they all left I was alone for about an hour. I was reading Pope John Paul II’s encyclical The Mercy of God and found myself simultaneously sad and joyful. I witnessed 4 couples come out all looking down at the ground and so unhappy. I also witnessed a young girl walk out all alone to get into a car who stopped at the sidewalk with its hazards on. I felt so sad for all these people. I kept saying Mercy Lord. I also prayed that when the reality of what they have done finally comes to them that they would be moved to seek forgiveness and allow Gods mercy to fill them with his grace and they can stand alongside us trying to prevent one more woman from ever feeling that way themselves. Good will triumph, I am sure but all the woundedness that is taking place in the meantime is so very sad. Lord be Merciful to us all, the sinners that we are.
Julie managed the vigil from 1-4pm and wrote:
My prayers to see more African American people and churches at 40 days were answered today! Three sisters in Christ from Union Baptist in Swissvsle prayed with conviction and compassion from about 2-3. and.. We sang! Alleluia!
Marshall from Steubenville came at the hour if Mercy, 3-4 and we prayed for Mary’s intercession for people going by. Also during 1-2 hour two students from point park universe came and filmed the front of pp. they said they are making a pro life film from the fathers perspective. Also God bless Tony, Mimi and Bill for stopping by to pray as well.
Joe W finished out the night on the 4-7 shift:
It was a beautiful afternoon, shared with beautiful people. Marshall from Steubenville, shared in prayer with me for my entire shift. Though few in number, we received only warm wishes from the passersby.
Peace to all.