Prayer, fasting and almsgiving

The WORD in Other Words by Fr Midas Tambot, SVD (Philippines)

As we begin the Season of Lent with the celebration of Ash Wednesday, we hear Jesus highlighting prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Why? Because for the Jews, these are considered the fundamental things we have to do, the great pillars on which a good life is based. 

Prayer reminds us of our constant call to make the Lord part of our day, part of our lives. In as much as we have various needs and desires, nothing should be ahead of our need and desire to have a strong relationship with God.   

Fasting fine-tunes our relationship with material things. Fasting reminds us that inasmuch as we have necessities and desires as human beings, they are not supposed to dictate how we live our lives.   

Almsgiving refers to our relationship with our neighbors. In relation to what‘s been mentioned earlier, our relationship with God, which leads to a healthier perspective and appreciation of things, must also be reflected in the way we relate with others. 

Inasmuch as we are called to prayer, fasting and almsgiving, Jesus also points out that these should be rooted in the right intent. Prayer, fasting, and giving alms, if done from the wrong heart, do not serve their purpose. What is in the heart, the motive for doing things is crucial. 

So, as we begin Lent may our prayer be: Lord, grant me wisdom and courage, never to do the right things for the wrong reasons.



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