During Lent, Catholics are told we need to pray, fast and give alms. Why?
Yes. Prayer helps us grow closer to God. Fasting helps us recognize our need for God. Giving to others helps us recognize the blessings we have received from God and pass that blessing along to others.
Fine. Great. ...but there needs to be more. ...and there is!
At the start of Luke 4, the devil tempts Jesus. He begins by tempting Jesus, who had been fasting for weeks, to turn stones into bread. Then, he offers Jesus every kingdom of the world if Jesus would only bow before him. Finally, he tells Jesus to throw himself down from the highest point of the temple, only to be saved, thus revealing His identity as the Son of God.
These temptations are the same temptations that broke Adam and Eve! Genesis 3:6 says, “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food (pleasure) and pleasing to the eye (possessions), and also desirable for gaining wisdom (pride), she took some and ate it.”
What is the antidote to the desire for pleasure? Fasting.
What is the antidote to the desire for possessions? Giving.
What is the antidote to pride? Prayer.
This is the reason that WE MUST fast, give, and pray!
(Why do you think religious take vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience? To combat temptations to pleasure, possessions, and pride!)
If we truly want this Lent to be special, the formula is simple: fast without grumbling, give something that hurts to part with, and pray more than you have in the past.
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