How Can Praying and Fasting Become a Joy?

Help for fasting this Friday of the 1st Week of Lent:

On January 25, 2001, Our Lady the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje gave us the following message:

“Dear
children! Today I call you to renew prayer and fasting with even
greater enthusiasm until prayer becomes a joy for you. Little children, the one who prays is not afraid of the future and the one who fasts is not afraid of evil. Once again, I repeat to you: only through prayer and fasting also wars can be stopped – wars of your unbelief and fear for the future. I
am with you and am teaching you little children: your peace and hope
are in God. That is why draw closer to God and put Him in the first
place in your life. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Actually,
this message is one of the themes that Our Blessed Mother has repeated
again and again throughout her time with us these past nearly 40 years
in Medjugorje. Why?

When we read these words, can we not agree and recognize and even ask ourselves:
Are we not living in the midst of a great battle?
Can we see the great battle for souls that is taking place in our time?
Not only externally, but internally – within us?

So often we read things only once, but when we read something again and again -it enables us to ponder it and truly take it to heart.
So let’s reread this message:

renew prayer and fasting with
even greater enthusiasm until prayer becomes a joy for you.”

It is a beautiful message:  

“Little
children, the one who prays is not afraid of the future and the one who
fasts is not afraid of evil.”

Mary tells us that prayer and fasting is the antidote for fear and unbelief – the evils that most torment our souls:

 “Once again, I repeat to you: only through
prayer and fasting also wars can be stopped – wars of your unbelief and
fear for the future”

Our Blessed Mother comes to bring us peace: 

“I am with you and am teaching you little children: your peace and hope are in God.”

Each
Wednesday and Friday, especially, Our Lady calls us to go deeper into
prayer with the aid of fasting. When we fast it helps us realize ever
more fully how much God loves us and longs to take care of us.
Why else would He be sending His Mother to us daily for so long?:

 “That is why draw closer to God and put Him in the first place in your life.”

When
we put prayer first place in our lives, then our prayer truly becomes
an encounter with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit –
and thus, it becomes
a joy – for we are encountering the ever-living God!!!

Imagine!
How wondrous it is that we can reach out in prayer and be in communion with the God?!
Who not only created all the heavens and the earth –
all that is seen and unseen in the universe
Who not only created everything around me, but each of us as well!
Imagine!
He fore-ordained each of us –
He knit us in our mother’s wombs!
He knows when we sit and stand
Imagine!
He knows every thought before we think it…
And has numbered ever hair on our head!
Imagine!
His intimate and intricate care that He took in forming each of us
And then sustaining us…
Never ceasing to breathe His life in us
with each breath we take
Never ceasing to cause our heart to beat at each moment
out of pure unadulterated love!
What wondrous love is this?!

It is this God Whom we encounter in prayer and fasting!
It is this God Who not only created and fashioned every part of us
so each of us can reflect His glory in a unique and utterly irrepeatable way
But Who also became one of us
Imagine!
a man like us in all things but sin
to redeem us
to carry our burdens
to take on the guilt and shame and death that our sins deserved
to save us and make us whole!
To transform us and make us new
through the power of His Life, Death and Resurrection!
Imagine!
Contemplate and ponder these things!

We are WHOLLY BELOVED –
a CHILD OF GOD destined for incomparable bliss in Him
Not only in heaven for all eternity
but EVEN NOW
in prayer,
for we ENCOUNTER HIM and COMMUNE with Him and know Him in prayer
with
the help of fasting (which helps us to rid ourselves of the
selfishness, self-absorption and sin that torments us and steals away
our peace that keeps us from being able to pray)

We are enabled to come to KNOW GOD more and more fully
And realize His Presence shines LIGHT in our darkness
EVEN NOW!
Even now, the more we know Him (through prayer and fasting)
the more we are able to seek and find Him
He, Who would never leave us or forsake us
and we receive Him ever more fully through
HIS WORDS that are living and effective and touch us to the core of our being
HIS BODY AND BLOOD that feed and nourish us on our daily journey
HIS SACRAMENTS
especially of RECONCILIATION in which we receive His Love and Mercy
In all these ways through our prayer we come to truly know He is With Us Always
He has not left us orphans
So HIS LIFE begins to fill us ever more fully until
HIS JOY permeates and transforms us
even in the midst of great suffering
HIS HOPE abides in us even in the midst of deep mourning
HIS GRACE is with us even in the darkest turmoil
FAITH IN HIM even in the midst of war – this great battle for our souls-
for HIS LOVE casts out all fear
and we are made ever more Holy
ever more like Him
because we are ever more in united with Him
and begin to see Him as He is.

This is why Our Blessed Mother ceaselessly asks us to pray and fast.
This is why she is present,
for we are weak…
we are frail and we need her help
to begin again and again and again
we need to be reminded to pray ever more ceaselessly
until prayer becomes a joy for us
until it becomes NEW LIFE IN CHRIST for us.

O, Immaculate Mother, thank you for your presence among us!
Thank you for your tireless messages calling us to pray and fast…
Thank you for your ceaseless love and prayers that lead us ever deeper into God’s love and mercy.
May
we receive and enter more deeply into God’s love in this time of grace
by responding to your call. We ask this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

© Janet Moore 2020. All Rights Reserved. 

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