Many years ago, my husband and I went to Medjugorje in the former Yugoslavia. One of the calls of Our Lady in Medjugorje is to fast on Wednesdays and Fridays. I followed this practice for quite some time until my kids arrived. I’m not quite sure why, I stopped. It was a gradual slipping out of practice as I my unstructured days at home challenged me to observe it. Maybe it was the exhaustion; maybe being around food more so at home than at the office; maybe it was simply a lack of priority. Whatever the reason, it still challenges me today.
A little prayer book I purchased contained a beautiful prayer for fast days. These beautiful words helped to shape my heart for the fast. I pass them along to you so that as you continue your Lenten fast, you may be encouraged by these words and possibly pray them along the road.
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you because by your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world. Anne
PRAYER ON FAST DAYS
Our Lady’s Call:
“I would like the world to pray with me these days. As much as possible, to fast strictly on Wednesdays and Fridays, to pray every day at least the Rosary; the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious mysteries…” (August 4, 1984)
O Lord God, Creator of all creation and my Creator, today we give you thanks for having arranged the world so wonderfully. Thank you for having given fertility to mother earth so that she may bear all kinds of fruit. Thank you for the food prepared from the fruits of the earth. Father, I rejoice in your creatures. I rejoice in all the fruits today, and I thank you. Thank you for our daily food and drink.
Father, thank you for having made my body in such a way as to be able to use the fruits of the earth and so develop and serve you. Thank you, Father, for all those who, through their work, produce new life possibilities. Thank you for those who have much and give away to others. Thank you for all who are hungry for heavenly bread while eating this earthly bread.
Father, thank you also for those who have nothing to eat today, for I am convinced that you will send them help through good people. Father, today I decide to fast. In doing so I do not despise your creatures. I do not renounce them, I only want to rediscover their value. I decide for fasting because your prophets used to fast, because Jesus Christ fasted and so did his apostles and disciples. I especially decide for fasting because your servant, Mother Mary fasted, too. She called me to fasting:
“Dear children: Today I invite you to start fasting with the heart. There are a lot of people who fast because others do so. Fasting is a habit nobody wants to give up. I ask the parish to fast out of gratitude that God allowed me to stay in this parish so long. Dear children, fast and pray with the heart. Thank you for having responded to my call” (September 20, 1984).
Father, I present this day of fasting to you. Through fasting I want to listen to and live your word more. I want, during this day, to learn to be turned more toward you, in spite of all the things that surround me. With this fast that I take upon myself freely, I pray to you for all who are hungry and who, because of their hunger, have become aggressive.
I present you this fast for PEACE in the world. Wars come because we are attached to material things and are ready to kill each other because of them.
Father, I present to you this fast for all those who are totally tied down to material things so the they are unable to see any other values. I ask you for all those who are in conflict because they have become blind in what they possess. Father, open our eyes through fasting to what you give us, to what we have. I am also sorry for the blindness which has taken hold of my senses so that I do not give thanks for the goods I have. I repent of every misuse of material goods because I used to judge their value wrongly.
Make me able, through this fast today, to see you and the people around me better. Enable me to hear you word better. Through today’s fasting, let love for you and for my neighbor grow in me. Father, I decide to live on bread and water today that I may better understand the value of heavenly bread, and the presence of your Son in the Eucharist. Let my faith and trust grow through fasting. Father, I decide for fasting and accept it because I know that in this way my longing for you will grow in me. Eagerly and with gratitude do I think of you Son’s words: “How blessed are the poor in spirit: the reign of God is theirs.”
Father, Make me poor before you. Grant me grace that through fasting I may understand how much I need you. Grant that through fasting my desire for you may grow, that my heart may long for you as the deer longs for the running waters and the desert for the clouds of rain. Father, I pray to you, grant that through this fast my understanding of the hungry and the thirsty, of those who do not have enough of material goods, may especially grow. Help me see what I do not need but possess, that I may give it up for the benefit of my brothers and sisters.
O Father, I especially pray to you. Grant me the grace to become aware that I am but a pilgrim on this earth, that, when passing away to the other world I shall not take anything with me but love and good deeds. Let the awareness grow within me that even when I possess something I cannot call it my own for I have only received it from you to manage it. Father, grant me grace that through fasting I may become humbler and more willing to do you will.
Cleanse me of my selfishness and haughtiness. Through this fast cleanse me of all bad habits and calm down my passions, and let virtue increase in me. Let the depth of my soul open to your grace through this fast so that it may totally affect and cleanse me. Help me to be always like your Son in trials and temptations; to resist every temptation, so as to be able to serve you and seek your Word more and more, day after day.
Mary, you were free in your heart and bound to nothing except the Father’s will. Obtain by prayer the grace of a joyful fast for me today, in which my heart will be able to sing with you a thanksgiving song. Obtain by prayer the grace for me that my decision to fast may be firm and lasting. And I offer, for all people, the difficulties and the hunger I am going to feel toady. Mary, pray for me. Let every evil and temptation of Satan stay away from me today through your intercession and through the power of your protection. Teach me, Mary, to fast and to pray that day after day I may become more and more like you and your Son, Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit. Amen.