"Give, and it shall be given to you." —Luke 6:38
We have been fasting in some way for eleven days of Lent. Fasting done in the right spirit frees us and others, "releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke" (Is 58:6). We should be experiencing freedom from the self-deception which blinds us to our sins. Instead of making excuses, we should admit: "Justice, O Lord, is on Your side; we are shamefaced" (Dn 9:7).
As we continue to fast, our eyes will open to areas where we are barging into God's business by judging, condemning, and not forgiving others (Lk 6:37). After we repent and quit playing God, we begin to experience a second major effect of long-term fasting. We find ourselves becoming compassionate, even as our heavenly Father is compassionate (Lk 6:36). We begin sharing our "bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed, and the homeless, clothing the naked," and not turning our backs on our own (Is 58:7). As a result of our Lenten fast, we give to the poor cheerfully, not grudgingly (2 Cor 9:7), "good measure pressed down, shaken together, running over" (Lk 6:38).
This is just the beginning. The Lord is changing us gradually and powerfully through the Lenten fast. Light and healing are soon to come in a new way (Is 58:8). Our Lenten fast, although difficult, is an opportunity of a lifetime.
Prayer: Father, may I persevere in obeying Your call for the Lenten fast.
Promise: "But Yours, O Lord, our God, are compassion and forgiveness!" —Dn 9:9
Praise: Taking Lenten fasting to a new level, Jan experienced a great deepening of her faith.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our leaflet, The Secret of Fasting, or on audio AV 46-1 or video V-46.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 3, 2006 & September 18, 2006
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