[Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving or Charity are spiritual disciplines practiced by people of many faiths. They are closely associated with the Christian Season of Lent. The words of Jesus are from the gospel for Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. They challenge us to consider our motivation for fasting The words of the saintly preacher and Bishop remind us to fast from sin as well as food.]
[But] take care not to perform righteous deeds
in order that people may see them; otherwise,
you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.
When you fast,do not look gloomy like the hypocrites.
They neglect their appearance, so that
they may appear to others to be fasting.
Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you fast, 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 6:1, 16-18)
“Do you fast? Give me proof of it by your works.
If you see a poor man, take pity on him.
If you see a friend being honored, do not envy him.
Do not let only your mouth fast,
but also the eye and the ear and the feet and the hands
and all the members of our bodies.
Let the hands fast, by being free of avarice.
Let the feet fast, by ceasing to run after sin.
Let the eyes fast, by disciplining them not to glare at that which is sinful.
Let the ear fast, by not listening to evil talk and gossip.
Let the mouth fast from foul words and unjust criticism.
For what good is it if we abstain from birds and fishes,
but bite and devour our brothers?
May the One who came to the world to save sinners,
strengthen us to complete the fast with humility!
Have mercy on us and save us. Amen.”
— Saint John Chrysostom (347-407)
[Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.]
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