Lenten Practices

We have a few weeks left yet to Lent, and in these few weeks we are given the opportunity to focus, or refocus, our lives toward Jesus. Saint John Chrysostom left us with strong words to help us: "No act of virtue can be great if it is not followed by advantage for others. So, no matter how much time you spend fasting, no matter how much you sleep on a hard floor and eat ashes and sigh continually, if you do no good to others, you do nothing great." He followed the way of the Lord, putting others as the focus of his ministry and work, always paying careful attention to the needs of the poor.

Jesus' words, actions and spirituality, found in the scriptures, lays out a clear path for us to follow. Hearing God's Word during the season of Lent inspires us to make turns in our attitudes, our words and actions. It is not always easy, but it is always rewarding when you have done the right thing. Lent is an opportunity to move closer to Jesus by embracing His ways, accepting the opportunities before us in the persons, places and things we encounter along the way. To give or not to give, to love or not to love, to trust or not to trust, to do good or not to do good—these are our basic choices, and every good choice we make strengthens us, others and the world. Our individual Lenten practices unite us in a solidarity that calls others to believe that Jesus "is the way, the truth and the life." (John 14:6)  

Saint John Chrysostom further explains the way: "Do you wish to honor the body of Christ? Do not ignore him when he is naked. Do not pay him homage in the temple clad in silk, only then to neglect him outside where he is cold and ill-clad. He who said: 'This is my body' is the same who said: 'You saw me hungry and you gave me no food', and 'Whatever you did to the least of my brothers you did also to me'... What good is it if the Eucharistic table is overloaded with golden chalices when your brother is dying of hunger? Start by satisfying his hunger and then with what is left you may adorn the altar as well." While Lent is not an easy undertaking, it is for all of us and each of us.


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