We have celebrated the first Sunday of Lent together, let’s do a quick check-in. Take your time in reflecting with me!
How are things going? Are you struggling with what you gave up / took on?
What fruits do you see sprouting from your discipline (fasting) in lent? If you’re not sure, what ways can you adjust what you are giving up so that serving others might be included?
Have you been overly proud or showy in your ability to give something up? If so, have you considered adding a secret extra fast or observance?
Something to reflect upon as we make our way through lent is the consideration that fasting, prayer, and almsgiving are not mutually exclusive. We ought to be doing these things in concert anyway.
More so, our fasting leads to deeper prayer which fuels our almsgiving which in turn increases our sacrifice for others to bear fruit in their lives. Fasting is as much about finding God as it is finding who God made us to be.
If we are willing to make sterile acts that do not intersect others lives, in what way can we be fruitful? It’s easy to write an anonymous check, the challenge of lent is to give while looking in the eyes of those in need, to reach out learn their names and treat others as a close neighbor. Just as Jesus said “whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” These teachings are not new, but the very heart of God since the beginning.
A few helpful suggestions for this lent to keep peace and to give mercy particularly to those who may not deserve it:
Do these things not because they are easy but because they are hard. Because the Lord says through St. Paul “No foul language should come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for needed edification, that it may impart grace to those who hear” so that “All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling must be removed from you, along with all malice. [And] be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ”
 Mt 25:40
 Mk 12:31
 Eph 4:29
 Eph 4:31-32
Husband & father of four, graduate from Quincy University and currently a grad student at Franciscan University. Director of Faith Formation & Youth Ministry for All Saints Parish since 2011.