St. Augustine once said that fasting and almsgiving are the two wings that we need for our prayer to rise up to God. It makes sense, doesn’t it?
As we begin the season of Lent this year, let’s try to make a break with all the “stuff” that takes up so much of our time, all the stuff that we think we need or that we think we have to do. Let’s break away from it so that we can experience a true breakthrough during this time of grace.
What kind of breakthroughs can we look for? Maybe we’ll become more consistent in keeping our prayer time. Maybe we’ll become more generous, kind, or compassionate. Maybe we’ll decide to go to Confession or get back to Mass. Some of us may need to become less angry, less resentful, or less moody. Or maybe we need to let go of past failures and the guilt and shame associated with them.
Your list may seem endless, but that’s okay, because God’s grace really is endless. He wants to help you break through whatever issues or habits have a grip on you. He has just the right amount of grace stored up for you, the grace to change and to take one step closer to becoming like his Son in all things.
No Better Way. Fasting, almsgiving, and prayer: these three traditional Lenten practices strengthen us for our journey. They protect us from temptation. They help us resist the devil. They open us up to God’s wisdom. They pave the way for the breakthroughs that Jesus longs to give us.
More than once, Pope Francis has told us that he wants a poor Church that serves the poor. “I want and I pray and I hope for a more austere Church,” he said, “a Church which prefers humility and simplicity over pomp and grandeur; a Church that cares for every human being.” Is there a better way for us to live out these words than through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving? I can’t think of any!
So let’s all commit ourselves to these three vital spiritual practices this Lent. Remember, it matters less how we pray or what we give up or what we give away. It matters more that we take up these practices in a way that will help us all fly closer to the Lord. If we can just try to do the best we can in each area, we can be sure that God will bless us beyond our expectations.
Joe Difato, Publisher | Email the Publisher at firstname.lastname@example.org