TV show Kung Fu? I guess you're not an old fogey like me. It was about a Shaolin monk named Caine as he wanders around using kung fu. At the beginning of every episode they showed him training. The "graduation" consisted of him picking up an iron brazier filled with burning coals with his forearms. The heat branded symbols into his forearms. The point of the exercise was (presumably) to show how he was willing to suffer for his commitment to his kung fu.
Catholics are all about suffering. Not that we like it or anything, but we treat it differently from Caine or any other religion or philosophy. Suffering is not seen as something to be avoided but as a way of participating in the work Christ did. Thus, when we give things up for Lent it is not just a reminder of what Jesus did, or an issue of becoming holy by gaining self discipline (like Caine). We actually can help Christ save the world by uniting our puny penances with the infinite penance that God performed in becoming a man and dying on the cross for our sins.
My friend Christie is going a step beyond Lent and doing something courageous. She has written about it in her post "But this kind does not come out except by prayer and fasting". The title comes from the Gospel of Matthew 15:14-21.
When they came to the crowd, a man came up to Jesus, falling on his knees before Him and saying, "Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is a lunatic and is very ill; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. "I brought him to Your disciples, and they could not cure him."Here we see Jesus affirm that evil can be fought through prayer and fasting. Sacrifice isn't just something to make us feel holy, or to demonstrate our commitment to a cause, it has an effect on the real world. Christie recognizes this, and is using it to help end the evil of abortion. In her words...
And Jesus answered and said, "You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him here to Me." And Jesus rebuked him, and the demon came out of him, and the boy was cured at once.
Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, "Why could we not drive it out?"
And He said to them, "Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.
But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting."
My dear friend, Rozanne, will be praying and fasting every Wednesday in order to open the hearts of these mothers to the alternatives to abortion. I will be praying and fasting every Thursday to help heal the women who got on that bus because they felt they had no other choice.Check out the rest of her post. I think what she and her friend are doing is brave, and powerful. I am giving up lunch on Wednesdays and instead going to pray at an abortion clinic. Would you join us? Would you sacrifice something to end abortion?