Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent – the portion of the liturgical year in which we renew of our baptismal commitment to God. Lent will always be a special time for me as a convert to Catholicism because during Lent, catechumens progress through the period of purification and enlightenment to prepare for their confirmation.
Through fasting, abstinence, confession, penance, and giving alms both catechumens and those confirmed are to affirm what is holy and eliminate what is weak and sinful. I am especially interested to work through the daily exercises of A Lenten Journey for Men with my brother-in-Christ Charlie.
In the Gospel reading today, Jesus provided instruction on our disposition during Lent:
“Take care not to perform righteous deeds
in order that people may see them;
otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.
When you give alms,
do not blow a trumpet before you,
as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets
to win the praise of others
When you pray,
do not be like the hypocrites,
who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners
so that others may see them.
When you fast,
do not look gloomy like the hypocrites.
They neglect their appearance,
so that they may appear to others to be fasting. “
In each of these lessons, Jesus said “And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.”
I wonder how many times I did something to make a good impression, give the appearance that I am a good person, or so that someone will like or appreciate me. Probably too many times to count.
This is why the instruction from Jesus is so important to me in my spiritual life. I do not have to boast and brag when I fast, pray, give alms, and do righteous things. God knows what is in my heart and as Jesus said, I “have received my reward” for such actions.
I pray tonight for my faithful sisters and brothers in Christ that we may all experience a baptismal renewal during Lent as we grow closer to God in prayer and penance.
You might also like these related posts from cinhosa:
Today we remember the Chair of Saint Peter
- What Will You Do for Lent This Year? – A Guide for Preparing Now (cantuar.blogspot.com)
- Ash Wednesday: Official Catholic Rules for Fasting and Abstinence (cantuar.blogspot.com)
- History of Ash Wednesday (americancatholic.org)
- FAQs About Lent (catholic.org)
- “When you pray, fast, and give alms” (worryisuseless.wordpress.com)
- Giving Up on Giving Up (americancatholic.org)
- How Saint Gregory the Great Prepared the Church for Lent (Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima) (cantuar.blogspot.com)