Wednesday, February 17, 2010

February 17, 2010 – Ash Wednesday

From the Word of the Day

When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. Anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.

Matthew 6: 17-18

How should we live this Word

Does fasting have any meaning today? I am not referring to diets or aesthetic fasting, but fasting that has an ascetic commitment to silence the pretenses of the body that wants to nourish itself more than is necessary. It is true that when the body is too content, the soul flags. To tame it a bit as one does with a fiery horse is good, but not to the point of weakening it. Everything is to be done in just measure.

Thus it is clear that the practice of fasting during Lent is like salt for food. It is a salutary time! However, in order to be a religious practice, fasting must find its motivation in our interior life. If we fast in order to appear as men and women submissive to a law imposed by the Church, this practice is not only useless but it is ruined from within like a worm eaten apple. Jesus continually battles against the cult of appearances. We need only remember what He said to the Pharisees.

His attack in this instance is with an unexpected gesture that is splendidly revolutionary and joyful. Fasting? In a wider sense, we not only mortify the desire to eat between meals, but to speak even when we should be silent, to buy when it is the case to avoid spending and waste. Perfume your head. Keep a serene countenance, even one that is festive. Cover the small death of your ego and exult with joy in your dedication to God, to making space for Him in imitation of Christ Jesus who fasted in the desert.

Today as I pause for silent contemplation, I will commit myself to fasting during Lent for the love of Jesus , making room for Him in my heart and in my life. My fasting can also be a means to help others in need.

Lord, help me to practice the fasting You want of me without any ‘showing off’. Grant me a heart that is full of Your love and smiling, festive eyes.

The voice of St. Peter Chrysologous, Church Doctor

Fasting does not blossom if it is not watered by mercy. Fasting withers if mercy withers. What rain is for the earth, mercy is for fasting. However it gentles the heart, purifies the flesh, eradicates vice, sows virtue, the one fasting gathers no fruit if rivers of mercy are not flowing.

House of Prayer “ San Biagio ”
casale 106
E-mail: srmterzo[at]mail[dot]com

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