4 Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
5 Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my saviour. Psalm 25
Every Lent is a new beginning; Lent gives us the opportunity to refresh our faith. Like the springtime it is a time of growth and renewal. it is a time to take stock, and to reflect on our lives as followers of Jesus and to prepare our hearts for renewing our Baptismal promises at Easter. The Lenten good works of ‘Praying, Fasting and Almsgiving’ help to give us the focus on what it means to be a follower of Jesus.
Over the next few weeks, we will share some thoughts, reflections, and prayers on ‘Praying, Fasting and Almsgiving’. This week our theme is ‘Fasting’
“We pray, fast and perform the works of mercy
in this time of grace,
so that the lord might find our hearts ready
and fill them with
the victory of his love.” Pope Frances
For many people when we think of fasting, we think of Lent as a time of fasting from something. In the past year we have already sacrificed much due to the pandemic: time with family and friends, community gatherings and personal interactions in the workplace and at play. We’ve given up shops, restaurants, travel and so much more. We’ve sacrificed all these familiar things in the hope of keeping each other safe and well.’ Theses sacrifices we’ve made over the last year in many ways are ‘acts of love’ of protecting ourselves and caring for others. However difficult we are finding the current restrictions can we fast by doing familiar and new ‘acts of love’ this Lent?
We might go with the familiar traditions of giving up sweets, cigarettes, alcohol or eating meat on Fridays. But fasting doesn’t have to be only about food. It can spill over to habits practices and things that distract us from our relationship with God and others, such as too much time spent on the internet and social media. We might also fast from words that hurt ourselves and others. With the focus on the environment in recent times new ways of fasting could include conserving water, improving our recycling, or turning off lights.
. Whatever fasting we do along with praying and giving can help us make a space for God in our lives, just as Jesus did in the wilderness before he started his public ministry.
For more ideas on acts of love click here
Thinking of others
Tricaine’s Lent 2021 campaign
“Here are my hands, hold them. Please don’t leave South Sudan alone. We need your prayers. We need your support. We need your love.” Fr. James Oyet Latansio, South Sudan Council of Churches.
Trócaire’s Lenten campaign for 2021 tells the stories of two families in South Sudan whose lives have been impacted by conflict. Awut and Ajak are shining examples of resilience, friendship and solidarity. This Lent we hear not only about the enormous challenges they have faced, but also about how they support each other through these challenges.
Lenten Music ‘On Eagles wings
This hymn reminds us that
A trust in the Lord and when the trust and faith take root, a strength will soar. We might still feel the weight, feel the hurt, but he will lift us up on Eagles wings taking us into a place of peace and renewed strength in Him.
Readings for the first Sunday in Lent
Jesus was tempted by Satan, and the angels looked after him
The Spirit drove Jesus out into the wilderness, and he remained there for forty days, and was tempted by Satan. He was with the wild beasts, and the angels looked after him.
After John had been arrested, Jesus went into Galilee. There he proclaimed the Good News from God. ‘The time has come’ he said ‘and the kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent, and believe the Good News.’
REFLECTION on the Gospel.
We are often tempted off course. I am sometimes reminded of when I lose my way walking up a mountain. I set off, knowing the direction, and then got tempted off course, maybe by trying to take a short cut or losing my way. I got so far off my way that I was lost and couldn’t get back. Somehow some light or landmark will guide me back again.
Donal Neary SJ
International Committee on English in the Liturgy (ICEL)