By Fr Emmanuel Mccarthy
In the next posts, I will provide Statement of Purpose of the Annual Forty Day Fast for the Truth of Gospel Nonviolence, July 1-August 9 and the short prayer people have prayed during this Fast for the last thirty-three years. Do read both, and do give participation in it some thought. Also, if you know of another or others who might be of a mind and heart to participate, please share this article with them.
Folks have participated in this Fast in various manners. In the beginning in 1983 the small number of people who participated, two, did a Fast on liquids only for the entire forty days. Some still do this. But as time rolled on it became clear that for most working people—as opposed to meditating monks with a strictly ordered life—a forty day fast on liquids only was too stringent. At that point the type of fast a person could do was left to him or her to decide depending on the situation-in-life of each. The critical element was that whatever was done, be done with an ungrudging spirit of Christlike love. For needless to say there must be a consistency between the means of fasting one has chosen and the end for which the Fast is undertaken, namely, to bring nonviolent Christlike love of all into the Church and into the world. So, do what you can in a peaceful Christlike spirit of Agape, and leave the fruits of yoiur efforts in the hands of God. Keep in mind the story of the widow’s offering (Mark 12 : 41- 44; Luke 21 : 1- 4). Jesus teaches that the two small coins she gave as an offering were of more spiritual worth than all the offerings of the rich, because the rich “contributed out of their abundance but she gave out of her poverty.”
Do what is possible for you to do in peace. If that is simply giving up a minute or two of your time each day to say a prayer for the intentions of the Fast, then do it, because Jesus’ teaching of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies does not have a prayer of being accepted by the Churches without yours. Leave the evaluation of the quality and value and success of what you are doing to the only One who can authentically make such those evaluations—within the immense incomprehensibility of existence in general and within the unfathomable complexity of human existence in particular—God.