Follow Br Jack by Email

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Fasting and Almsgiving

"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." Is 58: 6-7

It is easy to get lost in fasting, especially when we focus too much on being faithful to it as a spiritual practice and forget that it is means to an end. Fasting is not a good in itself, but a reminder to be grateful for all we have and  a way to serve the poor.

The early church insisted that fasting had no value unless whatever one saved by fasting was distributed to the poor. St Augustine as bishop of Hippo was especially strong in the regard, reminding us that "prayer, fasting and the remaining good works are useless without almsgiving, mercy and fraternal love. " (St Augustine homilies)

As Lent begins, it is important to get our priorities straight. Prayer, fasting and alsmsgiving are spiritual practices that we use to make our faith concrete and transparent. If we try to impress ourselves or others with the quality of our prayer and  the severity of our fasting, we become more concerned with our success than being faithful to God in all things.

Today, share simple food with a hungry person.

How important is doing justice in your life?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please be discreet in your comments. I will monitor the comments, and only exclude those that are patently offensive.