Thoughts on Fast4Families

sign-petitionBy: Sr. Margaret Magee, Franciscan Action Network Board President

“This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own. Then your light shall break forth like the dawn…” (Isaiah 58:6-8)

These words of the prophet Isaiah took on new and deeper meaning for me after I recently spent time fasting and praying with Fast4Families in Washington D.C. Fast4Families has set up three tents on the National Mall, steps away from the U. S. Capitol. The fast began on November 12 when faith based, immigration rights and labor leaders announced the call for immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship for those who are undocumented. Other fasts, gatherings and prayer vigils are also being held across the country.

Leaders and immigrant members of the community are fasting every day and night in hopes of moving the hearts and persuading the members of Congress to take a vote and pass immigration reform. Congress will go into recess on December 12 and so it is imperative that we unite and support this action. In support, Franciscan Action Network (FAN) has pledged to have a Franciscan present in the tent throughout this time of fasting.

Sunday, November 17th, the feast of St. Elizabeth of Hungary was the day that I spent in the tent with others who were fasting. This was day 6 since the beginning of the fasting period. In this experience and sharing with the others who were fasting, I learned that fasting is not simply about going without food, rather it is placing oneself (body, mind and spirit) in a space of mindfulness, openness and listening presence. This fasting was an opportunity to set aside one’s personal needs to experience the needs, the pain and despair of others. It was a time of being vulnerable and empty so that something new could enter and begin to reshape the way you think, feel and pray. For me this fasting, abstaining from food for twenty-four hours, was a time that I felt so nourished and enriched by the presence, the faith and the lives of faithful wonderful people who are simply seeking hope and opportunities to live, work and support their families.

My greatest concern today, day 10 of the fast, is for Eliseo, Cristian, Dae Joon, Mary, Tom and others who have pledged to continue their fast until Congress responds. And so we must gather in support and prayer for them and for all immigrants. Let us join with FAN and Franciscans International in their call to all Franciscans to participate in a day of fasting and prayer, in whatever way you are able, on Tuesday, December 3rd. May our fasting, prayer and sacrifice become a light for others that will break forth into a new dawn of hope, freedom and opportunities for others.

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Published in: on November 25, 2013 at 9:27 am  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] was trying to think of a title for this photo when I read a blog post at Acting Franciscan by Sr. Margaret Magee, the board president of the Franciscan Action […]


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