Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Pope Francis declares a Day of Fasting and Prayer for Peace in Syria on Saturday, 7 Sep 2013

Ignatius Press: Pope Francis calls a Day of Fasting and Prayer for Peace in Syria on Saturday September 7, 2013
This graphic was from Ignatius Press.  The graphic contains Pope Francis's call for the Day of Fasting and Prayer for Peace in Syria on Saturday, September 7, 2013.  This call was made during his Wednesday audience at St. Peter's Square last September 1, 2013:
I have decided to proclaim for the whole Church... a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world, and I also invite each person, including our fellow Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will, to participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative.
According to the Code of Canon Law
Can.  1249 The divine law binds all the Christian faithful to do penance each in his or her own way. In order for all to be united among themselves by some common observance of penance, however, penitential days are prescribed on which the Christian faithful devote themselves in a special way to prayer, perform works of piety and charity, and deny themselves by fulfilling their own obligations more faithfully and especially by observing fast and abstinence, according to the norm of the following canons.
Can.  1250 The penitential days and times in the universal Church are every Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent.
Saint John Vianney - Cure of Ars
St. John Vianney
Many saints have recommended fasting and one of them is St. John Vianney:
The priest of Ars subjected himself to a strict fast.  In this way he sought to reduce the requirements of his life to minimum.  One meal sufficed him for the whole day.  He abstained from alcohol except wine at holy Mass and normally ate only a little black bread and one or two potatoes cooked in water:  he would prepare sufficient of these to last him the whole week, keeping them in an earthenware pan, and often they were covered with a coating of mold.  Frequently he fasted for a whole day until, overcome, he would collapse from physical weakness.  In view of this mode of life he had no need, of course, of a housekeeper – apart from the fact that his house stood almost empty anyway.  Since he considered that his self-mortification was all too inadequate, he had a special penitential garment made, which he wore next to his skin, and which, by reason of the constant friction against his body, was soon stained a reddish brown.  For the most part he slept on a bare mattress when he was not sleeping on a bundle of wood down in the cellar.... 
To a priest who complained about the indifference of people in his parish, St. John Vianney answered:  "You have preached, you have prayed, but have you fasted? Have you taken the discipline (a self imposed scourge)? Have you slept on the floor? So long as you have done none of these things, you have no right to complain."