I loved this description of why fasting is beneficial.
"Part of the role of prayer is that it can lead the mind to greater understanding and clarity. Since the world doesn’t see yet a clear and better solution, the Pope’s suggestion might actually lead to some successful options. Fasting is a means of detachment and a way of offering sacrifice for one’s own sins, for reconciliation, or for the good of others. It “expresses a conversion in relation to oneself, to God, and to others” (Catechism, 1434). That’s what we’re looking for: conversion. And part of conversion is to better understand the will of God. We know that his will is peace; we just don’t know yet which forms of justice we need to arrive at that peace."
Today, I went to confession for the first time since my anniversary weekend on June 2nd. My 10 year old daughter asked me if I was scared inside the church as we waited for our turn in the confession line. I said "Oh yes!" in a whisper.
She looked confused. "Why are you here then?" She was in line because her parents dragged her to church. No parent had driven me to church and pointed me to the confession line.
I just said the first thing that came into my heart. "It's good to do hard things. Someday we'll be dead and dying is really hard. We'll be grateful then that we practiced doing hard things like going to confession when we were scared then."
I sort of proof read my words after the came out of my mouth. "What a weirdo, I am!" I thought critically. "What parent talks so normally about dying to their 10 year old kid? Someday someone is going to tell me I did a really bad job at raising my Catholic kids."
However, my 10 year old nodded as if that was the clearest and most reassuring advice ever heard. She stopped complaining and started focusing on her Examination of Conscience. Mother, Sister, Brother and Father all got through their Confession and did their penance. After we were finished, I remembered "we're supposed to be praying for Syria today!"
Sometimes it feels so overwhelming to belong to the Body of Christ. There are huge complicated problems in the world.It's really reassuring to have a Pope who tells us, "Now we are going to focus our prayers on this issue." It's beautiful to remember that by cleaning up my little soul, dragging my noisy toddlers and scared new communicants and my still uncertain Adult Convert Self to Confession, I contribute a small piece to a much greater goal.
We wait in trust that our joint prayers for peace will bear good fruit in Syria. God bless Syria. God bless America. Thank you Pope Francis. I love you!