Daily Reflection – 2/28/2020
Then the disciples of John approached him and said, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast [much], but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.”( Matthew 9:14-15)
The beginning of Lent is a time for some honest and deep introspection. We need to look at ourselves – like staring at ourselves in a mirror and identifying our flaws and blemishes. It’s not comfortable but God is giving us the opportunity to remove all of these spiritual flaws and blemishes and to be purified and born again through our Lenten observance.
The concept of fasting on which the Pharisees prided themselves gives us a clear link to today. Their rituals had become merely a traditional activity with no moral benefit. Today, we too can fall into this syndrome, putting questions of ritual and procedure on a higher pedestal than they deserve, while leaving the substance of charity (i.e. loving service, as prescribed by Jesus, the washer of feet) on the back burner.
We normally link fasting with reducing our intake of food. But we need to look at fasting in a new way. We need to identify and reduce the things that damage and oppress other people. The purpose of fasting is for achieving a certain goal – an improvement in our interior life.
We have to fulfill our basic duties to God before fasting will do any good. To fast and yet neglect these more fundamental responsibilities would be to fast in vain. First of all we must have faith in our hearts. Then we must perform works of mercy and practice Christian fairness in our dealings with our neighbors. And all of these are to be done in an overall spirit of Christian love. This mode of spiritual thinking and decent living must be present first. Otherwise, everything else we do of a religious nature will be of little account. Are we needlessly oppressing others by our words, habits or suspicions? If we want God to smile upon us, we must first release our captives. Those thoughts, words and actions that bring harm to others. Then we will be ready to move on to other more advanced levels of spirituality
Prayer of The Day
“Lord, fill me with your Holy Spirit, that I may grow in the knowledge of your great love and truth. Help me to seek you earnestly in prayer and fasting that I may turn away from sin and willfulness and conform my life more fully to your will. May I always find joy in knowing, loving, and serving you.”
Basil the Great wrote: “Take heed that you do not make fasting to consists only in abstinence from meats. True fasting is to refrain from vice. Shred to pieces all your unjust contracts. Pardon your neighbors. Forgive them their trespasses.”
Do you hunger to know God more, to grow in his holiness, and to live the abundant life of grace he offers you? Are you willing to take the steps necessary that bring us to eternal union with the bridegroom of new life?