Fast and Pray for Our Country

Fast and Pray for Our CountryRecently, Father John Riccardo made a ‘proposal’ to his parish.  He suggested that they come together – as a parish family – to fast and pray for the spiritual health of our country.  In his homily, he includes some amazing quotes from early U.S. presidents who asked our country – as a whole – to pray and fast for our nation.  At the conclusion, he quotes from a different author.  It left me speechless…and crying.

Why didn’t he simply suggest prayer?  Why did he have to include fasting?  Because Jesus taught the Apostles that the most dangerous things that we face “cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting”.  (Mark 9:29, emphasis added)

So, how did Father John’s parish respond?  Three days after his homily, eight hundred parishioners showed up at an evening Mass after having fasted for the day, and they solemnly prayed together for the health of this nation.  Each of them ‘broke their fast’ with the Eucharist.  They will continue to do this each Wednesday for the remainder of the year.

If you are concerned about the spiritual direction of this country, I hope – with all my heart – that you’ll spend a few minutes and listen to this homily.  Perhaps you will consider joining Father John’s parish in your own home, in your own way.


Bonus:  After you’ve listened to the homily, click here to watch Father John explain a few details about fasting.


‘A Two-Second Friendship’


Can you have a sincere and meaningful friendship that only lasts two seconds? I believe so. And I believe I had one this past Friday.

My wife and I arrived at the emergency room at about 8am. For the first time, it was actually my wife in distress and not me. The symptoms led us to believe that Lucy was passing a kidney stone: sharp, severe, lower-back pain that had eventually expanded around to the lower belly.

Lucy underwent some tests, and she was given fluids and pain medication. As anyone who has suffered through a kidney stone will tell you, the pain is incredible.

The first dose of morphine didn’t even make a dent, so they went to a higher strength medication. Continue reading

‘If God Already Knows Everything, Why Pray?’

It’s a fair and reasonable question.  Time and time again, we’re told that God knows, well…everything.

He knows when each sparrow will fall (Luke 12:6), he knows our thoughts (Psalm 139:2), he knows our sins (Psalm 69:5), and he’s numbered all the hairs on our heads (Matt 10:30).

Yet we’re still told to pray ‘unceasingly’ (1 Thess 5:17).  We’re told to beg forgiveness for our sins (prayers of contrition), to ask for things (prayers of petition), and – most amazing of all – to just sit and talk with God (prayers of ‘relationship’).

But why pray when we’re told that he already knows our sins, our desires, and our inner-most thoughts?  Doesn’t his qualities of being infinitely merciful, giving, and loving already take care of things for us? Continue reading

‘Praying Over Cars’

I helped out at the Youth Group car wash fundraiser Saturday morning – and saw some amazing things.

First off, twenty kids (give or take) just working like crazy to wash cars.  No slacking, no whining, no excuses – just working hard – constantly – with nothing but smiles.  Between 9am and 11am we had a non-stop barrage of cars – and no complaints from anyone.  Just wash, wash, wash – dry, dry, dry – and vacuum…well, you get the point.  These kids had the cars looking great.

In the back of my mind, throughout the entire event, was the fact that this was all being done to raise money to help some of the high-school kids afford to go to the faith-building Steubenville event in Orlando.  But there were lots of middle school kids there – working hard.  And a few high-school kids were there that might not be attending – but still working hard.  All of them graciously working hard to send their fellow Youth Group friends to a conference designed to strengthen their faith.  The kids of our parish were not there to receive, but to give.  Amazing. Continue reading