Tuesday of Fifth Week of Easter

“They appointed presbyters for them in each Church and, with entertainments and succulent meals, commended them to the Lord in whom they had put their faith” (Acts 14:23).  It should be immediately obvious that the preceding quotation has been doctored.  The real verse reads this way: “They appointed presbyters for them in each Church and, with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord in whom they had put their faith.”  The verse is describing what the apostles Paul and Barnabas did as they travelled about on their missionary journeys, establishing ecclesiastical hierarchies in their wake.

Those of us who have roles in ecclesiastical hierarchies today, whether as volunteers or as professionals, might need some encouragement to keep up these ancient Christian practices of prayer and fasting, especially when surrounded by the ocean of entertainments and succulent foodstuffs provided by 21st-Century Western culture.  According to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, it is a mark of consolation to have a desire for prayer and fasting, and a mark of desolation to have the opposite desire.  Consider carefully, then, the state of your soul: are you in consolation or desolation?

May 16th, 2017