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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Nonviolent protest

I wanted to mention the new link to the Yahoo! Catholic Worker group I just discovered today. I haven't officially joined...yet, but it's looks like a good place to discuss the Movement. I noticed in a recent post the upcoming Ember Days (Sept. 20, 22 and 23.) These are traditional days of fasting and abstinence on the Church calender. Check out for more information on Ember days.
Why not fast these three days for peace? Or for the unborn or any number of worthy causes. It seems to me that people today are so quick to pick up picket signs and march to the White House or write an angry letter to their favorite liberal paper of choice but how many would spend the same amount of time and effort to get to 40 hours? Do you want your petition heard by the people who watch the 6 o'clock news or the Lord Almighty? When people plan a dramatic protest, or hunger strike and alert all the reports in the tri-state area I have to wonder what their true intentions are.
Didn't the Lord say "When you fast do not look gloomy like the hypocrites.They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to others to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you." (Mathew 6:16-18)
There are times when the public needs to be made aware and a nonviolent protest is the way to do it. Martin Luther King Jr. and his work down south is a prime example. But we must be cautious that pride does not drive us into the spotlight under the guise of social justice. There is much to be said for the power of private prayer, fasting and mortification to end the evils of this world. Again, Dorothy Day provides a worthy example. During the Second Vatican Council she traveled to Rome to meet with delegates regarding war, weapons and non-violence, and during her visit she fasted 10 days for peace. Day was almost 70 and she fasted for 10 days. Let that sink in. This was not a fast supplemented with smoothies and protein shakes and there were no TV camera recording it for Workers back home. It seems almost unheard of in this day and age.
This September 20, pick up your beads, tighten your belt, put a smile on your face and hopefully, it won't make the front page.
"...for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted." ( Luke 18:14)