Throughout our lives there are many spiritual lessons to be learned. Whether it’s repentance or rejoicing, suffering or celebration, fasting or feasting. God calls us to discern what we need today…and then ask the Lord for the grace to respond.
Jesus teaches that our actions are accountable to God and not to be done for our own gratification. Prayer, fasting and almsgiving are powerful ways to live our faith, provided that they are done for God’s glory and not our own.
The prophet Isaiah shows how fasting can be spiritually fruitful or destructive. As a discipline of our body, fasting has the power to quickly cut through our selfishness and reveal a longing…not just for food, but for the Lord.
When questioned about fasting, Jesus responds with an insight: there is a time to feast and a time to fast. As the Lord’s disciples we are guided by our faith in Christ to discern the appropriate times when we need to adjust our behaviors for the specific needs of a particular situation.
The practices of fasting, prayer and almsgiving are powerful disciplines that the Church has embraced from the teaching of Jesus, and they offer immense power in shaping and guiding our spiritual lives.
The spiritual discipline of fasting offers a powerful tool to help us recognize the needs of others. Both Isaiah and Jesus offer key insights into this practice, guiding us to see how fasting in our bodies can bring renewal to our souls.
The ashes on our foreheads invite us to repent of the sins that keep us from God and one another. Through fasting, prayer and almsgiving we have powerful tools that can open our hearts and transform our lives in this great season of Lent.