Before anybody else joins me in a momentary scrupulosity freak-out, both Father Z. and Dr. Ed Peters have clarified that this is NOT an obligatory fasting day where the strict fast (one full meal, "some food" two other times) must be practiced under pain of sin by all adult Catholics who would usually be bound. As someone who is on day 2 of a migraine and who knows full well that Ash Wednesday and Good Friday fasts are usually, for me, followed by a day of migraine, I appreciate the clarification, because despite my migraines I don't usually ask for a medical exemption from fasting on those two days (unless something else is going on, of course; I think I mentioned asking for and receiving an exception this past Good Friday because however stupid I may be about the migraines I'm not stupid enough to take a twice-daily antibiotic on an empty stomach). But it would be highly imprudent for me personally to do a strict fast tomorrow and risk being too sick for Mass on Sunday, so I'm glad to have the voluntary nature of this fast clarified.
My favorite post on this comes from the blog of Father Jerabek, a priest presently studying in Rome whom I had the pleasure of meeting in Alabama; Father Jerabek offers some great suggestions for participation in this call to fasting:
So, what can we do to join in this day of fasting and prayer? Here are some ideas:That's a reassuring and comforting thought to those of us who are tempted to make the perfect the enemy of the good; that is, just because I may not be able to Do All The Fasting Things tomorrow, I shouldn't decide that I don't need to bother with anything. All of Father Jerabek's suggestions are nice, concrete things that many of us can do regardless of our situation and ability to participate in a stricter fast. Because the important thing here is that we are beseeching God for peace in Syria and in the Mideast, and we are focusing our hearts and minds, some specific actions and some specific prayers, on that goal. In doing so we are choosing to stand in solidarity with the suffering people of that region and against the drumbeats of war being sounded, alas, in the halls of power in our own nation. May God grant our prayers for peace!