Intentions of the Holy Father for April

Ecology and Justice. That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick. That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.

The Spirituality of the Fast

This post was going to start out about the spirituality of fasting, as you may have guessed from the title. I hadn't put down the first words yet when I realized how pompous it would be to sit down to such a topic, that has graced the pens of sages and saints from St. Matthew to St. John Paul II. With these men of deep prayer and learning, who labored and loved the Lord, having doubtless spent thousands of hours and days learning about this subject the hard way, anything I can say in an abstract vein will be glib. I might as well talk about the ardors of child rearing.

Instead, I will leave it alone and note that while I am fasting, I feel the deep hunger in my soul, that the rest of the time I cover up with all sorts of things trivial or terrible. Fasting is sacramental in this way, that it makes physically manifest a spiritual reality.

The days I fast are long, and tiring, and usually more peaceful than the days in which I do not. That seems odd, in a sense, because things like hunger are supposed to add tension to the nerves. Maybe an added element is that when I fast, I lay my fast at the feet of Our Lady as often as I can remember to do so. She who prays for us now and at the hour of our death cannot help but notice my hunger and assuage it somewhat with her love.