“Fasting confirms our utter dependence upon God by finding in Him a source of sustenance beyond food.” ~ Dallas Willard
“I’m never going to make it.” “How can I do this on my own?” “Can anything good come out of this?” These are things that we many times say to ourselves especially when we alter our daily routines in order to enter into the penitential season of Lent. Saying these things, by the way, are a reflection that we have totally misunderstood the season as well as the nature of penance.
When we choose to mortify ourselves by fasting and performing works of mercy, we do so in order to become closer to God. As we do, we need to remind ourselves that we are not the ones in charge, God is. Therefore, if we choose to fast and perform works of mercy, we must depend upon God to give us the wherewithal to accomplish our goals. On our own, we cannot possibly hope to succeed. With God’s help, we can do anything.
Lent, then, is not just a season of penitence. It is a test of our faith, particularly the strength of our faith. Those who are weak in the faith might become quite shaken when they begin their Lenten fast and good works. The way before them may seem quite daunting and unattainable. However, if they persist, they will come to realize in short order that God is with them helping them to accomplish all that they had hoped, and more.
Those who have stronger faith also come to the realization that they can go the extra mile because God is pleased with their good work and wants to give them more in order that they may exceed their hoped for accomplishments. This is truly a great mystery: the more we give of ourselves, the more we gain in order to do even more.
Fasting can be viewed as a “pain in the neck”. It can be seen as a great challenge. Or, it can be viewed as a wonderful opportunity to let go of earthly goods that sustain us and turn to God who is our ultimate sustenance. Performing works of mercy and of charity also help us to realize that it is not about ourselves but about God. When we give of ourselves selflessly, we have a better chance to see God who dwells in those we serve.
Find in God the strength that you need to meet your Lenten hopes and goals.
FAITH ACTION: As you begin your day today, make sure that you dedicate all that you think, say, and do to the Lord confident that He will give you what you need.