There are days, and there will be days, when I can’t see how “it” will work. My own frailties, and the overwhelming firepower of the world, knock the wind out of me. I related this state of affairs to a wise and dear Vietnamese friend the other day. You must understand how much the last few generations in Vietnam have suffered, which has endowed their faith with a rare purity and beauty. “Father,” she said, “God is with you. He is with all of us. You have to believe this.” I have to believe that everything God allows will bring about something beautiful. Every single catastrophe is a grace-filled moment of sanctification. “God cannot love you unless he humbles you,” she said. “Only humility can feel God’s touch.”
And so I thought about the humility that comes only through fasting, the kind that strips one to the bone. If I summon the courage, I fast on Friday until after nighttime Stations. And it is when I am empty, hardly strong enough to stand, that I feel God’s touch. To know Him who was stripped, I need to be stripped. Praying the Stations after a satisfying meal is a waste of time. And the most perfect fasting is to take what God gives, and give what he takes, with a big smile. Why the smile? Because I know that in giving what I would never have given, I am finally letting him love me, feeling his love. So, dear children, do not fear the cross. Love the cross, and learn to know God through surrender to it.