Let’s ‘add on’ this Lent

February 2018 · Ministry News

This Lent, we’ll share a series of weekly reflections provided by members of The Saint Francis Foundation’s Church Relations team. The Very Rev. Chas Marks has written a few thoughts for this first Friday of Lent.

People often think of Lent as a time for “giving up” something. While fasting and self-denial are an important aspect of this holy season, Lent is also a time for us to “add on” practices that help us better live out our Baptismal call to be the Body of Christ in the world.

The prophet Isaiah in today’s lesson (Isaiah 58:1-9a), reminds us of the true spirit of the Lenten fast:

“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?”

Fasting and abstaining from foods and other things that we enjoy should always be linked with doing good for others. St. John Chrysostom, a 4th century bishop in Constantinople, once said,

“No act of virtue can be great if it is not followed by advantage for others. So, no matter how much time you spend fasting, no matter how much you sleep on a hard floor and eat ashes and sigh continually, if you do no good to others, you do nothing great.”

Let’s have a truly great Lent this year. While we abstain from candy or eating between meals or other things that we love, let’s also add on doing more good for others in our daily lives. Then we shall really be living into the spirit of this holy season and as the Prophet Isaiah reminds us, “our light shall break forth like the dawn.”

May the Light of Christ shine brightly through us in the good we do for others during this Lent and always.