The Fruits of Prayer and Fasting
by Sr. Marie Van Luu, SCC
“The one who prays is not afraid of the future, and the one who fasts is not afraid of evil. Only through prayer and fasting can wars be stopped – wars of your unbelief and fear for the future.” (Mary’s message of January 25, 2001- Medjugorje.)
To pray is to offer devout petition, praise and thanks to God. When we fix our mind on God and God alone, we place ourselves in the presence of God. Prayer is the meeting between Heaven and Earth. During this encounter, we are surrounded by God’s spirit of LOVE, GOODNESS, JOY AND PEACE. The more we come to Him in prayer, the more we are transformed in His spirit. If each one of us were filled with this spirit, this world would be full of peace, and wars would never exist!
During an apparition in Medjugorje on April 25, 2001, the Blessed Mother Mary said, “I call you to prayer. Prayer works miracles. When you are tired and sick and do not know the meaning of your life, take the Rosary and pray; pray until prayer becomes for you a joyful meeting with your Savior.”
My days used to be filled with meetings, deadlines, projects, paper works and trips to different places! Each day’s events completely drained me of all strength! I was both physically and spiritually tired! At the end of each day, instead of spending time in prayer alone with God, I would say to myself, “My work is my prayer!” By saying that, I made myself feel good about my prayer life. So, I quickly said good bye to Jesus and went to bed. Those nights, I might physically feel better, but deep down, I knew I was not at peace!!! Not the kind of peace that would enable me to bring peace to others. Almost every morning, I forced myself out of bed thinking, “Another day! Full of work and difficult people to deal with!” Life was just another day to finish the jobs!!! And so my days continued as usual!
Now I know that is not the kind of prayer that will transform me! When I just work to get another project done, my mind does not focus entirely on the spirit of God. The focus is, unfortunately, on the SELF- how I myself can change the world through this particular job or project; how to make this job or project better; etc…I am not totally grounded in God! And if I am not in God, I will not be transformed by His spirit of joy and peace. If I am not transformed, how will I ever help God to transform the world? “That is why, little children,” Mary’s message of October 25, 2001 in Medjugorje says, “ Pray, pray, pray.. Through you and your prayer, peace will begin to flow throughout the world.”
Prayer is essential to our existence and salvation. That is why Jesus and Mary always taught us how to pray every time they appeared! They never asked the visionaries or us to go to places and perform any great corporal works of mercy! Just pray or building churches to pray!!! They know very well that once we are filled with God’s spirit, everything else will fall into place!
The Catholic Church and her faithful know how St. Faustina encountered Jesus in 1935 and through her, He taught us how to pray the Divine Chaplet. He also taught her the Novena to the Divine Mercy for her personal use. That was His desire! Pray!
Many Marian apparitions have proved Mary’s desire for prayer and penance. They all share similarities.
In Lourdes, Mary appeared to Bernadette on February 11, 1858 and asked for prayer and repentance. The Blessed Mother and Bernadette prayed the rosary together! Mary requested that a chapel be built at that site of the vision. She wanted her children to spend time with God. Pray!
We also know reports of Mary’s apparitions to three little shepherds at Fatima in Portugal on May 3rd, 1917. Mary identified herself as “Lady of the Rosary.” During those six consecutive months with them, Mary asked them to pray the rosary daily, repeating many times that the rosary was the key to personal and world peace. At Mary’s request, Pope John Paul II, in union with all the bishops and God’s people, consecrated Russia to her Immaculate Heart in 1984. Today, Russia is no longer a communist country! It is the power of prayer!
Our Mother Mary has repeatedly asked us to pray for peace: “Pray and fast that God may give you peace. Be carriers of peace in the world. The one who prays is not afraid of evil and has no hatred in the heart.” (Message of September 25, 2001, Medjugorje) If we gain peace through our daily prayer, we can become carriers of peace. Imagine, if each person in the world had this inner peace from God, this world would be like heaven!
Mary also talked a lot about fasting. She knows what is best for us. In today’s world, fasting is one of the most neglected spiritual exercises! It has been neglected so long that not many people know what it is and how it spiritually and physically helps us. Indeed, fasting is a blessing to overcome many addictions such as excess of food, drink, caffeine, nicotine, drugs, smoking, alcohol, sex and money. It can result in a dynamic personal conversion and thus make us a channel of revival to others. The discipline of fasting enables the Holy Spirit to transform our lives and our world more effectively. It helps us to resist temptations that might bring unhappiness into our lives. In fasting, one finds oneself being humble and totally dependent on God. It’s believed that fasting brings a lot health benefits if one knows how long and what type of fast is right for herself/himself. Click on this networking for health: http://medindia.net/news/healthwatch/benefits-of-fastin-53257-1.htm for more information on fasting.
Let us allow ourselves to be transformed by God through our prayer and fasting. His awesome power can be released through us as we continue to fast and pray for world peace. Toward the end, our transformed life can really bring about a change in the direction of our nation and the nations of the world.