If you want your prayers to fly to God, equip them with the two wings of fasting and almsgiving.
This good advice from St. Augustine encourages us to pursue the "holy trio" that the church calls us to each Lent. Like faith, hope, and charity, the three practices of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving work together to turn us away from self-centeredness and toward God-centeredness. They open us to his love and mercy, and they help equip us to become his ambassadors in this world.
We all know that these three practices are not always easy. But God knows our weakness. He also knows our potential—especially as he pours his grace into us. He knows that every step we take toward him has the potential to transform us a little bit more into the image of Christ.
This Lent, as you prepare for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, ask yourself how your life reflects the humility and trust in God that are at the heart of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. Where have you fallen short of God’s call away from self-centeredness? And even more importantly, how can you become more like Jesus—who lived completely for God and other people, and not for himself?
Jesus "went off to the mountain to pray." (Mark 6:46)Are there subtle—or not so subtle—ways that I have ignored my relationship with God?
"Return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning." (Joel 2:12)
"This . . . is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly . . . sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; clothing the naked." (Isaiah 58:6-7)
"Give alms from your possessions." (Tobit 4:7)